'Noisy' whip-maker won't crack
A FAIR crack of the whip is all David Simpson, of Evans Head, wants.
The 78-year-old pensioner, who four months ago beat a legal bid by the Richmond Valley Council to stop him from cracking his whips, is again under investigation.
“It's ridiculous,” he said.
Mr Simpson, a whip-maker and former cattle farmer, was fined $750 by the council after two neighbours complained about the noise.
When he refused to pay the fine, the council took him to court to force him to pay.
However, Mr Simpson hired a barrister and won the case. The council was forced to pay both parties' costs of about $10,000.
Mr Simpson had stopped cracking his whips in the lead-up to his appearance in court, but after his win he resumed the practice.
“He went quiet for a while,” council's director of environmental services Ken Exley said. “But then we started getting complaints again.”
The council responded by sending a survey to six of Mr Simpson's neighbours asking if the whip-cracking was an issue.
Yesterday, four had responded saying it was.
Mr Exley said neighbours reported whip-cracking as many as 60 times a week, as late as 1am.
It is an allegation Mr Simpson denies, saying he only cracks his whips five to six times a week and only ever between 8am and 7pm.
Mr Simpson did not seem to understand the distress he was causing his neighbours and their pets by his whip-cracking, Mr Exley said.
“(They feel) fear and anxiety. They are intimidated by his whips,” he said.
The council did not want to go back to court, but Mr Simpson had told the media he would only stop if a judge told him to, Mr Exley said.
Mr Simpson, an Evans Head resident since 2001, said he had not received any complaints until new neighbours arrived in 2005.
A widower since 2003, he sells his whips at local craft markets. “It's a day out for me,” he said.
Mayor Col Sullivan said it sounded like a 'localised neighbourly dispute'.