NSW Property Law - Should the Police Charge Handyman for Trespass?

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Lily Zhao

30 April 2016
I have a question regarding a handyman who jumped over the fence gate to the backyard of my property and took away his tools. He did part of his job and asked me to pay nearly the whole fee about 10 days ago. I didn't think too much at that time and just gave him the money.

In the last 10 days, he never answered my phone calls and kept making excuses not to come. Then my neighbour told me that it would cost him at least $600 to dump the rubbish and some labor cost to load the rubbish bin. But as I only owe him about $200, it is obvious that he didn't want to go on with the job.

At that time, he left some tools inside the backyard of my property. I sent him several messages, clearly mentioned that he was not allowed to come to my property without my permission. This afternoon, my neighbour told me that his tools were taken by someone.

I called him as my instinct told me that it would be him. He messaged me back to say I was accusing him and blackmailed that his tools would be worthy of $1000. I thought it might be someone else and reported this matter to the police. But later on, I checked the security cameras and found out he was actually the person who jumped over a locked fence and moved away all his tools. During this process, he also damaged the fence gate and bricks on the walls of my new property.

I sent a message to him that I had a video to prove he sneaked to my property without permission. He insisted that he did nothing wrong to go to get his stuff even without my permission. I think it is definitely against the law as I clearly mentioned he was not allowed on my property. But the disappointing thing was that the police was also taking his point.

According to the police, because his tools were inside the property, he thus got a right to get into my property, even if I didn't allow him to do so, even if he jumped over a locked fence gate, even if he did some damage in my property and even if he denied he went there and tried to blackmail me for the loss of the tools at the beginning. So the police didn't even bother to take a statement from me and watch the videos.

I really don't understand the police's decision. So if someone wants to get into my property's backyard, he can just throw a basketball into the yard first and then jump over. In case he is spotted, he could just say that he had the right to pick up his basketball in my backyard and can get away from damaging the fence or other stuff.

I would like to know if the police have made the right decision under Property Law not to put charges on him in a trespass case like this. Also, what can I do to get compensation for the damage he made?


LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
If the police don't want to charge him with criminal trespass you can still take the tradie to court for civil trespass.

Police are likely to view this as a civil matter rather than criminal hence their attitude. Not saying it is right, but I've heard of this happening time and time again.
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