BEST OF 2020: Barrister wins fight over controversial Lamborghini number plate
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This was the third most popular story on DRIVEN for 2020. It was first published in September.
A top Sydney barrister has got into a legal battle of his own over the “offensive” number plate on his bright yellow Lamborghini, which reads: “LGOPNR”.
Peter Lavac said most people would never connect the dots and realise his number plate was cheekily saying “leg opener”.
Lambo lawyer's last laugh over ‘leg opener’ licence plate. Local court challenge turns into a battle for free speech for colourful barrister Peter Lavac https://t.co/sqlryJCUiE— Ava Benny-Morrison (@avabmorrison) September 19, 2020
But at least one person did, in fact, connect those dots, and soon Transport NSW was calling for his plates to be removed.
“Tough s***,” Mr Lavac unapologetically told The Sunday Telegraph.
Transport NSW gave him 18 days to change his number plate, writing in a letter: “Transport for NSW determined that these number plates could be considered offensive and must be returned.”
From Palm Beach in Sydney’s northern beaches, Mr Lavac fought for his right to keep the number plate and challenged the letter in his local court on September 1.
He argued it was a free speech issue.
“I resent anyone who’s trying to violate my freedom of speech and expression,” the former Hong Kong crown prosecutor said.
“They (the number plates) are meant to be humorous, tongue-in-cheek, funny and entertaining.
“That is how most people find them when it’s explained to them.
“But how could you possibly construe recreational sex between two consenting adults as ever being offensive or demeaning in any way, shape or form?
“How many other little Aussie battlers who have similar bullying letters, have caved in and laid down and let (Transport NSW) walk all over them because they didn‘t have my resources or legal expertise to stand up to this and challenge them?”
In the end, Transport NSW backed down, which Mr Lavac believed was because they used an outdated section of the law.
Transport NSW safety, environment and regulation deputy secretary Tara McCarthy said that the department relies a lot on members of the public to report offensive plates, as many controversial number plates slip through the vetting process.
“If a member of the public finds a plate offensive they can report it to Transport for NSW which will investigate and the plate may then be recalled,” she said.