Sentencing pending for illegal works in marine park
A BYRON builder and company are due to be sentenced for illegal work within Cape Byron Marine Park.
Master Alchemy Pty Ltd and builder Ben Jolliffe, who was employed by the company to undertake the work, have each pleaded guilty to three charges including carrying out dredging work, carrying out reclamation work and harming protected marine vegetation, all without a permit.
They were due to be sentenced yesterday but after lengthy written submissions were handed to Magistrate Karen Stafford the matter could not be finalised.
Byron Bay Local Court heard the work involved placement of partly buried footings, cutting off eight mangroves at the base and preventing light from reaching some of the trees without approval for the purpose of building a jetty.
All of the cut mangroves had new regrowth since the work was undertaken between October and December, 2017, Byron Bay Local Court heard on Monday.
The prosecutor, acting for the NSW Department of Primary Industries, told the court he disagreed with the defence lawyer's comparison to previous cases, including one which took place when the maximum penalty available to the court was a fraction of that in place for the offences today.
He also argued the location of the work was a significant factor for the court to consider.
"They are offences committed in a special purpose zone of a marine park that had been specifically designated for the protection of habitat," he said.
The defence argued other cases had involved more serious destruction than this incident, including one in which 3000 mangroves were cut.
As of the time of publication, sentencing was expected to be imminent.