A MAN has been fined $500 after repeatedly being caught riding a modified bicycle with a 1.8 horsepower motor without the necessary licence, registration or safety equipment.
Paul Rutledge represented himself in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court, after Magistrate John Murphy refused to allow a non-legal associate of the defendant to argue the case.
The associate attempted to make submissions at the start of the hearing about the 'removal of the Queen' and about the United Nations' influence upon Australia.
"You are not a lawyer," Mr Murphy told the man, who appeared to continue counselling Rutledge from near the bar table.
"Take a seat back there or I'll have you removed."
Rutledge pleaded not guilty to all of the offences, which centred around the use of a mountain bike with an attached petrol combustion motor in Bendigo on three separate occasions.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Martin Friend said the vehicle fitted the legal description of a motorcycle.
Rutledge was charged with failing to meet obligations imposed on motorcycle riders, such as holding a motorcycle licence, driving an unregistered vehicle, failing to wear a motorcycle helmet, and riding a vehicle that did not have the necessary safety features.
He also faced charges for twice failing to provide his name and address to police.
Rutledge argued he was not obliged to provide such details, citing a 1901 act.
Bendigo Highway Patrol Senior Constable Dale Andrews said he was doing patrol duties when he saw Rutledge riding along the Midland Highway at Epsom on December 3, 2017.
He and his colleague followed the vehicle, which was travelling at 25 kilometres an hour, for about 400 metres.
Police spoke with Rutledge after he stopped at a service station.
"I told him why I was talking to him - the vehicle was a motorcycle, which I had stated previously," Senior Constable Andrews said.
He had spotted Rutledge on his vehicle on two other occasions.
Senior Constable Andrews said he and his colleague detected the bike travelling about 35 kilometres an hour at Sandhurst Road, California Gully, on November 1, 2017.
Asked why he did not have the appropriate licence, Rutledge told police: "I don't need one... It's not over wattage."
Police had the vehicle professionally tested and found it had a maximum output of 1.8 horsepower.
The maximum output for a power assisted bicycle in Victoria is 200 watts.
One horsepower equates to 745.699872 watts.
Senior Constable Andrews was off-duty when he detected Rutledge riding on Myrtle Street, Bendigo, on June 12, 2018.
He said the vehicle reached speeds of about 25 kilometres an hour.
Police impounded Rutledge's vehicle for 30 days on both this occasion and in December.
Mr Murphy found there was a case to answer and offered Rutledge the opportunity to put submissions to the court.
"I can't think of anything," Rutledge said.
The magistrate found the vehicle clearly served under the definition of a motorcycle.
"Don't drive this vehicle, it's as simple as that, otherwise you're risking a jail sentence," Mr Murphy warned Rutledge.
One of Rutledge's supporters stood up in court and said, "Sir, the defendant needs a McKenzie Friend."
He had earlier been told not to speak and was asked to leave the court, which he did.
Rutledge was convicted of all charges before the court. In addition to the $500 fine, he was disqualified from driving for three months.
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