Grandparents slapped with $370 fine over tiny detail in photo

The Melbourne couple's daughter claims her elderly parents would never commit such an offence and are considering challenging the fine in court.

An elderly couple in Melbourne hit with a $370 fine say they’ve been blamed for an offence they didn’t commit.

Pham Tran, 82, and his 74-year-old wife Kim were shocked when they received a letter from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) accusing them of littering, A Current Affair reported.

The EPA claims a lolly wrapper was tossed out of the passenger window of the hire car they were in last month, with the paperwork revealing a photo of their vehicle and the alleged rubbish, a tiny bit of plastic sitting on the road.

The accusation, which the family believes is completely made up, came from a stranger.

While the Trans don’t deny being inside the car that day, they are adamant they didn’t litter. As diabetics with high blood pressure, the couple insist they only eat one type of sweet and it doesn’t come in a wrapper.

The Tran's hire car on the road (left) and the lolly wrapper on the road (right).
The fine from the EPA revealed a photo of the Tran's hire car and the 'evidence' from the stranger who dobbed them in. Source: A Current Affair

Couple prepare to fight fine

Kim Tran, the couple’s daughter, who is also their full-time carer, is now preparing to fight the fine against her parents who’ve lived in Melbourne’s west for 32 years since emigrating from Vietnam.

“My parents, they love this country and this is home for us,” she said. “They would never do that, they would never break a law or throw rubbish... at home, it’s like spotless clean.”

While Kim looks over their options in asking for an internal review of the fine or facing court, she’s not sure how they’ll cope if they lose.

“It is impossible if they have to pay it,” she told A Current Affair. “I don't know how, i just don't know.”

The Tran's holding the littering fine (left) and Kim Tran (right).
The Tran's daughter is preparing to fight the fine, adamant her parents would never litter. Source: A Current Affair

Evidence won’t hold up in court, lawyer says

According to the EPA, littering infringement fines are the result of eye witness reports.

“Anyone can report a littering from a vehicle offence,” the organisation said in a statement to A Current Affair. “Once a member of the public reports an incident, the case can proceed with or without photographic or video evidence.”

However, a local Melbourne lawyer, Justin Lawrence from Henderson and Ball, told ACA the images supplied by the EPA wouldn’t hold up in court.

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