Manjimup farmer cleared of charges

25 Oct, 2013 01:00 AM
Comments
4
 
Gingin Private Property Rights Group president Murray Nixon (left), Peter Swift and neighbour Glynn Bevan outside the Bunbury court after Mr Swift received his not guilty verdict.
Gingin Private Property Rights Group president Murray Nixon (left), Peter Swift and neighbour Glynn Bevan outside the Bunbury court after Mr Swift received his not guilty verdict.

WA landowner Peter Swift has been found not guilty of clearing 14 hectares of his property about 60 kilometres east of Manjimup.

The not guilty verdict comes after five court appearances over three years, during which time before and after aerial and satellite pictures were presented as a basis by the prosecution to show illegal clearing had been carried out.

In delivering the verdict on Wednesday, Magistrate Elizabeth Hamilton said the prosecution was unable to establish without reasonable doubt that Mr Swift had cleared the land or allowed land to be cleared between November 2007 and December 2009.

Mr Swift said the trial had taken a financial and emotional toll over the three years and was grateful to supporters, which included Gingin Private Property Rights Group president Murray Nixon and neighbour Glynn Bevan.

"I have been to hell and back and people have been concerned about me," he said.

Mr Swift believed the court decision should be good for private landowners.

The charges were brought by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) under Section 51C of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 which has a maximum penalty of $250,000 for the offence.

Mr Swift had refused an offer to plead guilty in return for a lighter sentence.

Earlier this year the DEC was investigating 54 cases of alleged unauthorised clearing as a result of observations of DEC officers or complaints submitted to the department, with a further 25 cases pending investigation.

p Full story in next week's Farm Weekly.

Date: Newest first | Oldest first

READER COMMENTS

x
25/10/2013 11:14:58 AM, on Farm Weekly

The previous Minister gave an assurance that the regulations would be reviewed, silence since the WA State election. What is happening ??
drj
26/10/2013 6:30:13 PM, on Farm Weekly

poor guy hope he is ok
sandymcc
31/10/2013 11:48:21 AM, on Farm Weekly

The system needs fixing. I know several completely innocent people that have been prosecuted by governments. Legal costs should be awarded in such cases.
JAS
7/12/2013 5:09:39 AM, on Farm Weekly

My brother is doing well thank you. Support has been overwhelming since his acquittal I'm extremely proud of my brother standing up for what is right. You may have seen this latest news on his website re government decision http://www.propertyrightswestaust ralia.com/news.html for latest.

POST A COMMENT


Screen name *
Email address *
Remember me?
Comment *
 

COMMENTS

light grey arrow
My total income is from livestock production in WA as a 1 man operation and I agree completely I
light grey arrow
i was 15 years old when I went up to liveringa station in 1961.with j.drakebrockman . the old