Carry Out Building Work Without Permit – Fine Without Conviction

This is a case study on charges of Carry Out Building Work Without Permit resulting in a fine without conviction.

Our client ran his own earth moving and retaining wall business. He had been engaged to build a retaining wall for a man who was conducting works on his property. When he was originally engaged, he asked the homeowner who the builder for the works was, and the latter said that it was him (the homeowner). The client then went about constructing the retaining wall as per the agreement reached with the owner/builder.

But the relationship between them deteriorated over the course of the project, and resulted in the owner witholding part of the payment for the job. The client observed that the owner/builder did not get an inspector to come and conduct the necessary inspection on the works being undertaken, and so put in an anonymous call to the council to alert them. He was of the belief that this might lead to payment of the outstanding bill. Our client was mistaken.

What is alleged to have occured?
What was brought about was the council realising that the retaining wall that the client had worked on was done without a permit. He was then charged with Conducting Work Without a Building Permit, and for being a company engaged to do work without a building permit. He was charged as both an individual and as a company. He was co-operative with the council and assisted them with their investigation in the matter. He had no prior convictions whatsoever.

What happened at court?
Kristina Kothrakis represented the client at the Dromana Magistrates’ Court on charges of Carry Out Building Work Without Permit. For this case, a fine without conviction was the sentence imposed.

Work done in the absence of a building permit is a serious offence. The onus is on the builder to ensure that one is in place. In this instance, the client foolishly assumed that the owner/builder had obtained one, as he was the one building the project. His real error was in not insisting to site one. Had he done so, he would be been alerted to the fact that a permit had been sought and granted for all the work, except the retaining wall. It was incredibly unfortunate that it was his own call to the council that brought about the prosecution.

The fines can be very heavy in these matters. In determining the level of seriousness, the court will consider the type of work undertaken, the level of dangerousness associated with it, and the reason a permit was not sought. In this case, the explanation was one of inadvertence, as opposed to a deliberate omission. It was nonetheless taken very seriously.

What was the result?
We were able to portray the client as an otherwise honest, hard working and big hearted person, who dedicated much of his time to caring for his child. He takes on the role of primary caregiver to his son, and does that around his business opportunities. The magistrate was impressed by the strong material presented. He was ultimately persuaded to deal with the matter in the lower range available for these types of matters.

The charges of Carry Out Building Work Without Permit ultimately resulted in a fine without conviction. This was a good outcome as the sentence was unusually low compared to what is normally imposed in cases involving this charge.

Elements of Carry Out Building Work Without Permit:
  • The accused has carried out building works as defined in the Act and building regulations; and
  • During the time when the work was performed, the accused did not have a building permit
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Kristina KothrakisKristina Kothrakis

Kristina has significant experience in criminal trials and also holds a degree in Science, majoring in Psychology, an invaluable area of knowledge, as many of her clients suffer from psychological disorders.

Kristina strives to achieve the best possible result for all her clients. Skilled, decisive and assertive, Kristina demonstrates dedication, care and professionalism at all times.

View Kristina Kothrakis’ 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 05/08/2019