News

'God' defence rejected

A downstairs extension to this South Golden Beach house will have to be pulled down on the orders of Mullumbimby Local Court.
A downstairs extension to this South Golden Beach house will have to be pulled down on the orders of Mullumbimby Local Court. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

A MOTHER and daughter told a court only God had the authority to order them to pull down an illegal extension to their South Golden Beach property, but the magistrate took a different view.

In a hearing at Mullumbimby Local Court on Thursday, Byron Shire Council argued the downstairs area of the property was not approved to live in as part of the original development consent and it should be demolished.

The council's governance manager, Ralph James, said despite several requests over the past two years, the property owner had not taken any reasonable steps to get the downstairs development approved or cease use of the area.

"Of concern was the fact that the house was located in an area that is subject to flooding," he said.

"The closed-in downstairs area was 1.6m below the Council's flood planning level, and 0.7m below the level of the flood that occurred in 2005."

The shire argued the pair breached the Building Code of Australia by using poor quality brackets on a rear veranda extension, no complying handrails on the stairs and no smoke detectors on the lower part of the property.

The council was originally notified of the illegal extensions by a community member and the matter was listed for December 1, 2011 but the defendants failed to attend.

When the matter was heard, the women submitted a written argument stating they did not have to submit to the jurisdiction of the court, or the council

God was only jurisdiction they recognised, she told the court.

Southern Cross University lecturer in the school of law and justice, Warwick Fisher, said it was an unusual defence.

"It's a strict rule of Australian government that the church and state are separate. The church deals with spiritual matters and the state makes laws regarding its citizens and that includes land law," he said.

The magistrate found against the pair, fining them a total $6000 and ordering they pay the council's professional costs of $3000.

Mr James said it was a signal to property owners to seek council development approval.

Topics:  court god illegal magistrate



Commercial fishers get extension, but it makes no difference

Ballina trawler harbour.

Deadline extended for NSW fishers buying back into the industry

Sex attacker slapped with strict supervision upon release

Violent sex offender's life after jail no walk in the park

Boogie woogie beauty took the world by storm

The grave of Winifred Atwell  at the Memorial gardens at South Gundurimba.

Photo Jacklyn Wagner / The Northern Star

International star who wanted to be buried on the Northern Rivers

Local Partners

David Attenborough on facing his mortality

Sir David Attenborough in a scene from the TV special The Death of the Oceans.

Life without Sir David Attenborough is hard to imagine

Goooodbye Hamish and Andy (from our radios)

Hamish and Andy

The pair have been on air since 2006

Saying "I do" changed Shia's outlook on marriage

Shia LaBeouf has a new outlook on marriage since he tied the knot.

Singer tunes in to first movie role

Tori Kelly voices the character Meena in the movie Sing.

Musician Tori Kelly voices Meena the teenage elephant in Sing

Cricketing greats bring Aussie mateship to commentary box

Cricket commentator Adam Gilchrist.

ADAM Gilchrist enjoys the fun of calling the Big Bash League.

The dead help solve the case

Debut novel delivers on wit, violence and shock

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

How your home can earn you big $$$$ this Christmas

This luxury Twin Waters home rents out over Christmas for more than $6000 a week.

Home owners earning thousands renting out their homes this Christmas

2000 jobs at multi-million dollar Ipswich project

INSIDE: Artist's impressions of the interior of the new Eastern Heights aged care precinct.

Sub-contractors needed to build $15m aged care facility

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!