I visited my friend's place last weekend, and he told me he had some bad experiences with a neighbour. One week ago, his new car received a big scratch from this neighbour's garage door.
My friend lives in a unit with the garage located in basement. The garage door is remote controlled. This therefore is handy for whoever uses it. There are 6 garages on each side of the basement, and the one in the very left hand side belongs to my friend. Each time he drives in or out, he needs to drive into the entrance, which is on the very right hand side.
The area in front of each garage is pedestrian shared or common area. On this day, my friend with his wife beside him, driving his car out passing over this common area his neighbour's garage door suddenly opened.
When this occurred the lower part of the garage door raised up and out, it happened so quickly, my friend didn't get a chance to avoid the corner of the garage door. The result, a long scratch on left rear door of my friend's new car.
What to do?
My friend was upset as, and whether we consider it odd or not, he loves this car, much like a pet. His neighbour at the same time, was intending to drive out and arrived just after this incident happened. She had pressed the button for her garage door to open as she made her way to the basement.
So my friend asked, why she opened her garage door before arriving at the basement to ensure it was safe to do so. His neighbour replied: "Everyone does this, why pick on me?" My friend explained to her what had happened, showed her the scratch, and what annoyed him, she didn't even say a sorry and claimed it wasn't her fault and with a a rude attitude, got into her car and drove out of the basement.
How the law works
Witnessing this, my friend and his wife were shocked by this wilful attitude, and called the police and reported the case. But the police, following the law, said this occurred within a residential area, and to contact the strata manager.
That afternoon the strata manager was able to provide the surveillance camera video, which recorded everything. Then guided by police, my friend lodged his car insurance claim against his neighbour.
Now, the insurance company will organise the compensation, and of course, his neighbour will be liable. My friend was happy enough about the final outcome. The incident had happened. He was pleased enough his car will be fixed, and that through the insurance his neighbour will he held financially to account.
A greater issue
The greater issue was one of safety. What if a small child had been passing bye as his neighbour pressed the garage door button on his remote while making her way to the basement.
The strata manager should take this to the following meeting as a OHS issue and a resolution be passed and enacted that would prevent this from occurring again. An IT lock might be investigated that the garage door remote could not be enacted until in full view of the garage door.
Moreover the strata committee should alert all residences to the safety issues involved, requested them all to show courtesy and to never leave the scene of an incident regardless of what it might be (the security cameras record it all). My friend decided to take no additional action as his neighbour later expressed regret.
Christian and / or common law?
This is quite a question? Is such a situation as this, it is following common law by going to the police, the strata title, the insurance – and all laid down in the law for the goods functioning of society. The security camera in this instance, kept everyone honest (as it were).
Or is there an additional Christian (Biblical) doctrine of personal accountability. If you break and enter, disobey a road sign and crash, defraud someone, bring false witness against someone, and caught, then you are held personally accountable. Even if you forgive someone, accountability still holds true - the two are mutually exclusive (forgiveness and accountability).
We can take this further still. Nations have gone to war over accountability. Churchill in the first instance held Hitler accountable. It happens internally as well. Russia's Putin received a standing ovation last October in the Duma when he held the rich and bountiful Russian culture is pre-eminent over Sharia Law.
I'm from China, but even I recognise that in Australia no one very small numerically cultural group in a society that have an understanding that their own cultural law supersedes the law of the land, or if a culture group holds they have a religious liberty to bear false witness against any other set of people - then accountability is thrown out the window (as it were). Accountability is Christian.
Oscar Duan is from China, he has an accountancy degree from University of Hertfordshire (UH) International campus in Malaysia, and has undertaken further accountancy studies in Australia for accreditation here. He is married to Heyley.
Oscar Duan's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/oscar-duan.html