A Sydney man is suing NSW Lotteries on the grounds that a newsagent threw away his “winning” ticket in 1997.
Disability pensioner David Owen Renshaw claims he has been haunted by the incident and that it has “played on his mind” for two decades.
Nevertheless, he has only seen fit to come forward now, 20 years after a callous, or perhaps uncomprehending newsagent trashed his lottery ticket, a ticket Renshaw believes entitles him to $3.3 million.
Back in the naughty nineties, Renshaw says he bought a “mixed entry coupon” ticket at the Greenfield Park newsagency, which he later presented to a shop assistant at the Granville newsagency.
“I witnessed the words ‘provisional winner’ [on the screen] when I handed it in,” he told the court this week. “I queried the attendant about what those words mean and he said ‘no winner’.
“He couldn’t speak English very well and I dare say couldn’t read,” explained the Renshaw helpfully.
Renshaw, who is representing himself, possibly because no lawyer would take the case, said he demanded the ticket back but the shopkeeper binned it, while repeating his “no winner” mantra.
Renshaw remembers becoming angry, at which point our inscrutable sales assistant “ran to the office and locked himself in for four to five minutes.” If that wasn’t bad enough, the man “kept peering out at me,” recalled Renshaw.
All very traumatic, but does he have a case?
Well, we’re no legal experts, but it’s not looking great. For a start, Justin Hogan-Doran, a lawyer for NSW Lotteries, told the court that none of the company’s lottery systems have ever used the word “provisional winner.”
Hogan-Doran has also applied to have the case dismissed on the grounds that it has not been brought within the time limit required by the law.
Strangely enough, Renshaw is not the only person to attempt to claim a prize from a 1997 lottery draw recently. In 2013, pensioner Robert Clemett said he had bought a winning ticket but lost it in 2000 when he moved house. Clemmett’s claim came shortly after a TV progamme broadcast in Channel Nine about unclaimed lottery prizes.
“He appears to have persuaded himself over a period of years that he is the rightful claimant to the unpaid prize from Oz Lotto,” the judge said in dismissing that case. “In my assessment, his fixation on that as an immutable fact has prompted him over the years to bend all of the surrounding evidence to meet it.”
Meanwhile, Renshaw’s case has been adjourned until next month to give him time to find some much-needed legal advice.