Well, that’s what it amounts to.

Dr Patrick Nugawela took his Lamborghini to be serviced. The mechanic took the car for a test drive. An extended test drive, at speeds of up to 160kmph in a 90 kmph zone.

The police caught the mechanic, and impounded the car for 28 days. They are required to do this under West Australian ‘hoon’ laws. Cars driven recklessly must be impounded.

Except that the WA government seems not to have taken into account that cars being driven recklessly are also likely to have been stolen. And that impounding a stolen vehicle will further inconvenience the owner, already a victim of theft. And that then requiring the owner of the stolen vehicle to pay a $900 fee to get the car released may be just a little unfair.

WA Police Minister’s initial response of ‘tough luck’ was not well received. He has agreed to bring forward a review of the relevant legislation:

Yesterday Mr Johnson was adamant the law would not be reviewed for another year, even though he admitted that in the case of the doctor, the law was not fair. But in a statement late yesterday the minister said he had decided to bring forward the review after examining the legislation. He said he had decided there was room for a minor amendment which may allow for the substitution of an offender’s vehicle in place of an innocent person’s vehicle.

I dont know it is possible this legislation could have been enacted without such an obviously necessary provision. And at this stage there is still no indication Dr Nugawela’s car will be returned in returned in reasonable time.