Man fined for deadly poison

A MAN was fined for keeping a deadly poison he did not have a licence for, after its spillage made two women sick and led to a costly clean-up operation.

Jeffrey Douglas Grills, 59, of South Kolan, pleaded guilty in Bundaberg Magistrates Court to keeping strychnine on his property and not securing a firearm properly.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens said a 46-year-old woman who was boarding at Grills’s property was involved in a disturbance with her 16-year-old daughter on January 3.

The court was told the older woman knocked a box the poison was stored in about 6.45pm.

The container fell to the ground and broke open in the man’s shed.

“The woman started to have a funny taste in her mouth,” Sgt Stevens said.

She rang Triple-0 and the pair was told to shower immediately to reduce the symptoms of the poison.

Emergency services rushed to the property and, as the women were taken by ambulance to Bundaberg Hospital, Queensland Fire and Rescue officers donned full body suits to protect them against the poison and began the clean-up process.

The mother and daughter were released from hospital with no long-term health effects.

Sgt Stevens told the court it took less than 10mg of strychnine to kill a person and that Queensland Fire and Resuce (QFRS) was seeking $942.50 restitution for equipment used to clean the poison up.

“Because the apparatus were exposed to such a toxic chemical, they cannot be reused,” he said.

Sgt Stevens said the maximum fine for illegally possessing strychnine was $8000.

“It was damned lucky no one was killed,” he said.

Defence lawyer Matthew Messenger said the farmer used the poison to bait dingoes and wild dogs that attacked his stock.

The lawyer said his client had owned the poison for about 15 years and there was only a small amount left.

“It was not geared towards anything except protecting his stock from wild dogs,” Mr Messenger said.

“It’s not like he had it sitting on his kitchen bench; it was in his shed.

“He is going to suffer serious financial detriment from paying the restitution to QFRS.”

Magistrate Neil Lavaring ordered Grills to pay $942.50 restitution to QFRS and fined him $800 for possessing the strychnine.

The unsecured firearm was forfeited to be destroyed. No conviction was recorded.

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