Vogons: One of the most unpleasant races in the Galaxy. Not actually evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. They are employed as the galactic government's bureaucrats. – Douglas Adams, (Hitch hikers Guide to the Galaxy.)
Property Rights Australia, Chairman, Ron Bahnisch has claimed that the administration of vegetation acts in Qld and NSW strips suspected clearing offenders of all normal civil rights and presents examples. It appears that once the department staff has you in their sights no depth of legalistic bastardry is too low for them to sink to.
The item contains a list of actions they have taken involving harassment, vague and inconsistent evidence, and constant appeals on losing cases. The actions of these people give the impression that they are in fact green zealots out to destroy farmers with at least, the tacit agreement of the ministers and departments. Here is an example which, if you are not outraged, you are reading the wrong blog:
On 27 October 2005, Peter Robert Witheyman swore Complaints against Scott Simpson, alleging unlawful clearing on Freehold Land, unlawful clearing on a road reserve and growing wheat on a road reserve.
Her Honour Cornack SM dismissed the Complaints and made the following findings:
The property was subject to a site inspection by Peter Witheyman and Craig Elliot…These officers were vague in their evidence about which regional ecosystem map they used in their investigation on the site.
Peter Witheyman agreed that there are various versions of the Regional Ecosystem Maps, which is very confusing for everyone.
It was rather concerning during his evidence to consider the emails which reported that the remotely sensed images used by the Prosecution to prove clearing of the land did not show a very large shed which is actually on the property. The area around the shed simply looked like pasture in the images.
A computerized set of information concerning property boundaries is used by the
Department. This is the Digital Cadastral Data Base (DCDB). Linda Lawrence moved the DCDB approximately 100 meters to the southwest for the purpose of assessing the area of alleged clearing on the roads reserve. She did this only for the purposes of the prosecution. The permanent records of the department were not also altered.
Her Honour also found that prior to April 2004; the intention of Parliament was to protect by legislation only “Remnant Endangered” RE’s.
Costs were awarded to Scott and Anne against DNRM again at triple the usual amount, given the unusual circumstances of the case and the conduct of the prosecution by DNR.
Between the first three days and the last day of hearing and prior to the decision of the Magistrate dismissing the Complaints, Witheyman gave Scott and Anne a Compliance Notice over the area subject to the charges. This Notice has only now been withdrawn by DNRM.
DNRM appealed this decision to the District Court. On 20 March 2009, Judge Botting QC dismissed the Appeal. His Honour made the following finding in respect of the question of law:
“In my view, I should accept the respondent’s (Scott’s) submission that, on its proper construction, at the time of the offence alleged against the Respondent, regional ecosystems other than Remnant Endangered Regional Ecosystems were not intended to be protected by the two Acts.
Witheyman has filed an Application for leave to Appeal to the Court of Appeal. This appeal is yet to be heard.
Full post here.