Gov­ern­ment’s en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­peal quashed

Sunshine Coast Daily - - NEWS -

A BID by a gov­ern­ment depart­ment to se­cure a con­vic­tion against a con­cret­ing busi­ness has been quashed in court.

In May, Cord­wells Re­sources – who own Cord­wells Con­crete in Yan­d­ina – was found not guilty in Ma­roochy­dore Mag­is­trates Court of con­tra­ven­ing a con­di­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal au­thor­ity by “di­rectly or in­di­rectly” re­leas­ing tur­bid wa­ter into Eudlo creek.

The com­pany pleaded guilty to fail­ing to pro­vide doc­u­ments dur­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and was fined $7500.

The Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Sci­ence lodged an ap­peal against the de­ci­sion, claim­ing Mag­is­trate John Walker “mis­con­strued” their ar­gu­ment. Cord­wells came to the depart­ment’s at­ten­tion in 2016 when of­fi­cers on site saw tur­bid wa­ter flow­ing from a valve on the com­pany’s Che­val­lum sand quarry site into a cul­vert that led to Eudlo Creek.

Di­rec­tor Brian Cord­well in­sisted the valve had been shut when he ear­lier in­spected the area. Of­fi­cers found it could be con­trolled by a top and stick sit­ting on the bank.

The pros­e­cu­tion ar­gued tam­per­ing with the valve was fore­see­able and Mr Cord­well had not taken rea­son­able steps to pre­vent it. The charge was dis­missed by Mr Parker on the ba­sis that while there was no ev­i­dence a third party had been in­volved, the hy­poth­e­sis cast “rea­son­able doubt”.

The ap­peal was heard in Ma­roochy­dore Dis­trict Court with Judge Brad Farr say­ing the pros­e­cu­tion were the ones who “mis­con­strued” the case.

He told the court the charge Mr Cord­well was fac­ing “un­am­bigu­ously al­leges” he dis­charged the wa­ters.

“The ap­pel­lant failed to dis­charge its onus and prove the de­fen­dant did re­lease (the con­tam­i­nants) by act or omis­sion,” Judge Farr said. The ap­peal was over­turned.

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