Bush doof farmer loses appeal over $36,000 fines
A FARMER who let a rave be held on his property without council approval has lost a NSW Land and Environment Court appeal to have $36,000 in fines overturned.
The court heard Richmond Valley Council officers first visited Kevin Lindsay Jenner's Kippenduff property in October 2013 to advise him he needed consent to hold "doof" parties with amplified music.
The council received a complaint a month later about parties in the area, and then a further complaint in March 2014 about the Rabbit Eats Lettuce electronic dance music festival.
A letter from police to the council a month later detailed allegations of illegal drug use at the event.
Court documents show an email sent to the council in July 2015 claimed a planned party, advertised on Facebook under the name "neverendingbeatsclub", was being held for about 200 people and with no entry fee.
The council said its co-ordinator of environmental and regulatory control, Andrew Hanna, attended the two-day Seery Rd party and paid a $40 gate fee.
"He observed a large number of people, tents and approximately 200 vehicles," Justice Nicola Pain said.
"The music at the site was clearly audible and people were dancing around the stage and DJ.
"There were also food stalls and other activities such as tightrope walking.
"Mr Hanna observed a physical altercation which caused a facial injury to an attendee.
"No ambulance was called and limited first aid was rendered."
Jenner received two penalty infringement notices over the event, with the Casino Local Court issuing two fines of $20,000 and $16,000.
He appealed the decision in the Land and Environment Court, arguing the magistrate should have better explained the charge to him before he accepted a guilty plea, considering he had no legal representation.
He contended the magistrate should have informed him of his rights to withdraw a plea before sentence, and that the magistrate and prosecuting solicitor had misinformed him about what maximum fines he faced.
"The plea of guilty was entered on the day of the trial originally set down to determine culpability in light of his plea of not guilty," Justice Pain found.
"The appellant appeared to understand the nature of the charges to which he was now pleading guilty, was in possession of the necessary facts in doing so and did not demonstrate a lack of understanding of the law.
"He demonstrated a consciousness of guilt."
The appeal was dismissed with Jenner ordered to pay the council's legal costs.