Ballarat Magistrates Court: farmers fined for water tampering

TWO farmers separately charged after going behind the water authority and tampering with waterways on their irrigation properties fronted Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday.The court was told Newlyn’s Jaime Allen, 48, tampered with a water meter on his irrigation property, causing it to stop recording. Goulburn-Murray Water officers discovered the problem in October 2008 and interviewed Allen a month later.The court was told the dam on Allen’s property was empty and he was not using the water.He pleaded guilty to one count of interfering with works/property under authority and was fined $1000 with conviction and ordered to pay $1085 compensation.The court was told Bullarto’s Ian Bruce Paterson carried out excavating works on his property in early 2008 to fix a silt trap. He undertook the works without permission from Goulburn-Murray Water.Prosecutor Davina Pugliese said Paterson had built the wall of the silt trap higher. She said there was a spring that fed a licensed dam in the area.Defence lawyer Matthew Carrazzo said his client made the modifications to the silt trap because it had become a hazard. He said cattle had fallen into the trap, which was like a bog.”(The works) had no impact on the spring or waterway,” Mr Carrazzo said.”This is a case where he undertook these works without realising he needed a permit.”Paterson pleaded guilty to four charges including obstructing or interfering with a waterway, and was fined $800 and ordered to pay $1110.During both cases, Magistrate Kay Robertson said that the world had changed and water was now a scarce source.She said in relation to Paterson’s case, authorities needed to know if any works were being carried out.A court case involving Carlisle Farming, Ballarat, which has been charged with unlawfully taking water and interfering with works/property under authority, was adjourned until February 11 for a mention.Dean’s Kevin and Rodney Guthrie will also return to Ballarat Magistrates Court the same day to face similar charges.Kevin Guthrie, 66, faces seven charges including interfering with works/property under authority, obstructing or interfering with a waterway and obstructing/threatening/abusing/insulting/intimidating officer.Rodney Guthrie is charged with four offences including obstructing or interfering with a waterway and obstructing/threatening/abusing/insulting/intimidating officer.
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