Withdrawing Charges of Fail to Comply With Building Order

This is a case study on withdrawing charges of Fail to Comply With Building Order.

Our clients were the directors of a real estate investment company. They were charged with several serious offences under the Building Act 1993 (Vic). The daughter of the client operated a separate business on two properties owned by our clients. They owned a home in Melbourne and this property was occupied by their daughter.

Based predominantly in Asia, the bulk of our clients’ business interests were overseas. They would periodically visit Melbourne and stay for a short period of time.

What is alleged to have occured?
A prosecution under the Building Act was brought against them as a result of a complaint made by an anonymous member of the public. The complaint, in essence, related to building works which were suspected to have been undertaken without the necessary building permits and approval.

As a result of an investigation made by the building department of the local council, our clients were charged under their company name, and individually with several breaches of the Building Act.

What happened at court?
We represented the client at the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on the charge of Fail to Comply With Building Order.

As a result of extensive negotiations, an out-of-court settlement was reached and all charges were withdrawn. The prosecution accepted that our clients had a viable defence of honest and reasonable mistake having regard to several factors.

Our clients had ensured, notwithstanding their lack of knowledge and awareness of building works that had been undertaken on their property, that they had complied with formal notices to remove the offending building structures.

What was the result?
When the matter was heard, no further orders for compliance with previous building orders were necessary. This was a significant factor in mitigation. It was also very relevant that neither of our clients had any court history, particularly for previous offences under the Building Act 1993 (Vic).

Successfully withdrawing charges of Fail to Comply With Building Order was certainly an excellent result for this particular case.

Elements of Fail to Comply With Building Order:
  • The accused is subject to an emergency or building order
  • Particulars of remedy or direction stipulated in the order were not adhered to within the time frame provided
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 09/08/2018