Building Works Without Permit – Good Behaviour Bond

This is a case study on building works without permit resulting in a good behaviour bond.

The client contacted our firm after receiving a charge and summons to attend court for an offence committed under the Building Act. The client had constructed an elevated deck on his property without a building permit and, after a complaint was made by neighbours, the council had attended his property and determined that a building permit should have been obtained for the works.

He was charged with Building Works Without Permit and Amelia Ramsay acted on his behalf at the Dromana Magistrates’ Court.

Amelia reviewed the brief to determine whether the client had any possible defences. As the charge is an absolute liability offence, the client’s intention is irrelevant and he does not have the benefit of being able to say that it was an honest and reasonable mistake. It was determined that there were no defences available to the client – the structure did not fall within the exemptions under the Building Act and therefore required a permit to construct.

Instructions were sought from the client and he was advised that an early plea of guilty was in his interests. This proved to be true for this particular case in which the charge of building works without permit ultimately led to a good behaviour bond.

Having obtained the client’s instructions to correspond with the council on the basis that he would plead guilty, Amelia sought a summary of offending from the prosecutor. The summary is the document that will be read to the magistrate at the plea.

Once the summary was received, Amelia identified matters that were irrelevant and sought to have them removed from the summary. She had identified on the brief that the council investigator had not properly cautioned the client when they interviewed him – as such, Amelia sought to have any references or comments made by the client removed from the summary, particularly those that could be perceived as detrimental to his plea.

A summary was eventually agreed between the parties and the matter proceeded as a plea on the first court date. Amelia appeared at the plea hearing and, in addition to setting out the circumstances that lead to the client’s offending, she identified that he is a small business owner, that he contributes to the community, and that not only did he remove the entire original structure, but that he has gone about getting plans and permits and commenced building the structure again with full council approval.
This case of building works without permit resulted in a good behaviour bond with certain conditions. More importantly, the bond was ordered without conviction.
Elements of Carry Out Work Without a Building Permit:

  • The accused has carried out building works as defined in the Act and building regulations
  • During the time when the work was performed, the accused did not have a building permit

Amelia RamsayAmelia Ramsay

Admitted to practice in 2013, Amelia performs her work with care and professionalism ensuring clients understand the Court process, their charges and that they receive the best possible outcome.

Since joining Doogue + George, Amelia has represented clients in a broad range of indictable offences including, manslaughter (one-punch laws), foreign incursion and terrorism related offences, importation of drugs, cultivation of drugs, and sexual offences. Her work has included trials in the County and Supreme Court, plea hearings and contested committals as well as appeals to the Court of Appeal. Amelia works closely with barristers including briefing Queen’s and Senior Counsel. Amelia also appears regularly at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court and suburban courts as a solicitor advocate.

View Amelia Ramsay’s profile.

DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 06/02/2019