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WA Prosecution - Local Government Council?

Discussion in 'Criminal Law Forum' started by vinzi, 13 September 2014.

  1. vinzi

    vinzi Active Member

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    Hello All
    This is my first post on this site, so not sure how it will go!
    I was asked by local council to remove all the items of my property that did not have council approval. This included items that did comply. I was given 6 weeks to do so and my attempt to have 11 weeks to comply was rejected. Since I was not able to comply by 6 weeks, the council sent me a prosecution notice to appear in magistrates court - criminal prosecution.
    The council maintains that all items were in breach of state Act and local authority scheme. However, there were items that did comply and the items that needed to be removed could have been approved within the six weeks of compliance - I only found this out later.
    Can I litigate against council for false information or intimidation, harassment and loss of income as they knew that I could have achieved compliance in that period rather than them seeking to extort a fine from me?

    Thanks
    [Removed by Moderator]
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi [Removed by Moderator],

    1. What were the items/structures that council asked you to remove? Where they structural changes to your building (or separate buildings) without prior council approval?

    2. What charges/offences are you actually charged with? This should appear on your charge sheet (notice to appear at the Magistrates' Court) with corresponding legislation and provisions. This would be extremely helpful in advising what you can do in response.

    3. What evidence can you point to in support of your claim that certain items were legal? Do you have written council approval? Do you remember roughly when approval was granted?

    4. Give the Western Australian State Ombudsman a call and enquire about your situation. They are an independent body that offers free advice and dispute resolution services for issues relating to councils and other government agents. You may direct your complaints against council decisions there.
     
    #2 Sarah J, 13 September 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: 23 September 2014
    vinzi likes this.
  3. vinzi

    vinzi Active Member

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    Thanks Sarah for your response. Please see answers below:
    1. Trucks and trailers and a building they referred to as a "nissen hut" which in fact was 2 sea containers with an attached canopy. The nissen hut even if an outbuilding is allowed in the rural zoning. The trucks and trailers fall under commercial parking definition and are allowed also. The council said they were transport depot and not an approval use. After the prosecution the council tightened up their definition of commercial parking in there town planning scheme to avoid the ambiguity that existed!
    2. Charge is "continue or carry out development on such property by permitting items to placed on the property, without the authority of the City of ... Town Planning Schem 6. Written Law S. 218 (b) and 223 of the Planning and Development Act 2006
    3. Eventually I was given approval but only after a zoning change that occurred 3 months after prosecution. They were opportunistic, as they knew if zoning changed during negotiation period it would be harder to prosecute!

    Many thanks
    [Removed by Moderator]
     
    #3 vinzi, 13 September 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: 23 September 2014
  4. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi [Removed by Moderator],

    So have you received council approval for the items yet? Are they still charging you and taking you to the Magistrates' Court? If so, and if you have received approval, is it for the period prior to approval?
     
    #4 Sarah J, 14 September 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: 23 September 2014
    vinzi likes this.
  5. vinzi

    vinzi Active Member

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    Hi Sarah
    Yes I have received approval for all items. It is still in magistrates court and it is not retrospective approval.

    Thanks
     

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