Man wants to sue after spending six weeks in jail
AN ELDERLY Cairns businessman who spent six weeks in jail after being convicted of contempt by a magistrate plans to sue the State Government for $1 million over what he claimed was "a total abuse of power" after successfully appealing his conviction.
Alan Bradley Jorgensen, 69, was representing himself on a fraud matter in the Cairns Magistrates Court in June 2018, accused of dodging two fines in the Cairns Airport carpark by tailgating vehicles through the boom gate.
During the third day of proceedings, Magistrate Joe Pinder refused to let him call a police witness and Mr Jorgensen told him he was "trying to protect the case".
According to court documents, Magistrate Pinder told the Kewarra Beach man he had insinuated he was "corrupt" before having security arrest him in court, then later sentenced him to three months jail for contempt of court, suspended after six weeks.
Mr Jorgensen, who is just shy of his 70th birthday, appealed the decision, penning a handwritten appeal from Lotus Glen Correctional Centre during his sentence and last week this was upheld by a District Court Judge Suzanne Sheridan.
The fuming businessman and father, who is also a full-time carer for his terminally ill mother, said he was now seeking redemption.
"It ruined my reputation around town," he said.
"I have a son in private school who they were all thinking his dad was a jailbird.
"It put my family at risk."
Mr Jorgensen claimed he served the first seven days of his sentence in the Cairns watch-house without a change of clothes and no ability to contact his family or a lawyer.
"That was 10 times worst than 'Club Lotus'," he said.
"You're just in your cell."
At one point he said he suffered chest pains and had to be taken to Cairns Hospital for treatment wearing handcuffs.
Mr Jorgensen said he was now seeking a lawyer to launch legal action.
Along with throwing out the contempt conviction, Judge Sheridan also ruled Mr Jorgensen could file an application for costs.
"The sentencing discretion was miscarried and the sentence imposed was manifestly excessive," she said in the judgment.
"Even though the words uttered could have been construed as an accusation of corruption, in the circumstances, no further punishment should have been imposed."
The original fraud charges were re-heard in the Cairns Magistrates Court at a later date and Mr Jorgensen entered a guilty plea before being fined $300 with no conviction recorded.