After an exhaustive legal saga, a court has ordered a a man to pay almost $20k in fines and legal fees for storing shipping containers on his property.
After an exhaustive legal saga, a court has ordered a a man to pay almost $20k in fines and legal fees for storing shipping containers on his property.

Developer fined $10k over shipping container spat

A developer has been whacked with a $10,000 fine after a court reversed a ruling and found him guilty of illegally storing shipping containers on his property.

Beenleigh resident Thomas Joseph Brookes says he has already lodged a counter appeal after the exhaustive legal saga came to a head in the Brisbane District Court yesterday.

Mr Brookes was charged after seven shipping containers were moved onto his Kokoda Street property, within 1km of Beenleigh's CBD, without a development permit in December 2016.

In August 2018, Beenleigh Magistrate Ron Kilner dismissed the charges brought by Logan City Council against Mr Brookes.

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He found the containers on Mr Brookes's 1614 sqm block were not permanent structures and noted that Mr Brookes had been given consent by the council.

 

Thomas Brookes in September 2017 holding the fines the council sent him. Picture: John Gass
Thomas Brookes in September 2017 holding the fines the council sent him. Picture: John Gass

 

"At all times, the defendant has maintained that the containers were temporary structures and proposed to remove them when his building work was completed," Mr Kilner said in his order.

" … The defendant further gave evidence that he had consent for the containers to be on his land."

Logan City Council successfully appealed the decision in the Brisbane District Court in March arguing that Magistrate Kilner had made mistake in finding that the containers were not "structures" and they did in fact require a permit.

The court found Mr Brookes guilty of all seven offences and yesterday made an order that he pay the council $10,500 in fines - $1,500 for each container - and ordered that he remove the structures within 60 days.

He was also ordered to pay almost $10,000 in legal costs.

Mr Brookes argued to the court that he should not pay a cent because he alleged the council had been "malicious, confrontational, unreasonable and unconscionable" towards him and because he had not intended to break any laws.

Speaking to Albert Logan New s today, Mr Brookes said he had already filed a notice to appeal the decision in the Court of Appeal.

"I have to appeal this on behalf of all developers as it is unbelievable that a council can give you verbal and then written consent to do something, then prosecute you after you do it," he said.

"After my appeal, I'll be instructing solicitors to commence legal action against the council for harassment and misconduct."

The council did not provide a comment but sent a link to a fact sheet which stated that residents who wish to have a shipping container on their property for more than 30 days need to obtain building approval from a private building certifier.

"You may also need to obtain a development permit from council depending on the size and location of the container," the fact sheet states.

 

Originally published as Developer fined $10k over shipping container spat



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