Shop trashed as neighbourhood feud flares

GARBAGE and black paint strewn outside a corner shop in South Lismore has exposed a festering feud between neighbours.

Despite pleading not guilty to one charge of littering, Catriona Skye Stewart, 38, was yesterday found guilty of the offence by magistrate Annette Sinclair in Lismore Local Court and fined $200.

Police alleged Stewart dumped the garbage outside the Casino Street shop door on the night of May 4 because of an ongoing rift between her and shop owner Wendy Franke.

Police said the rubbish pile contained paper scraps with the name 'Stewart' and black paint was on walls of the shop.

Stewart, who lives next door to the shop, told police she did not do it.

Another witness, who lives on the street, said she saw Stewart putting the rubbish in front of the shop door.

In her defence Stewart said she and the witness had been having ongoing disputes for a long time and the woman had previously made a false allegation against her.

Stewart said she had no idea how the black paint came to be on the shop window.

She said she drank seven beers the afternoon and evening of the offence but was not drunk and denied the prosecutor's claim she dumped the rubbish outside the shop to annoy its owner.

“I have no intention to pay the fine in this case because I didn't do it,” Stewart told the court.

“It has done a lot of harm to my reputation. I have been targeted for the vandalism at the shop. Anything they can do to rubbish my reputation they do.”

In finding Stewart guilty, Ms Sinclair said the offence came out of a degree of ill-feeling between neighbours.

Speaking outside the court following the guilty decision, Stewart remained adamant of her innocence, claiming some of the street's residents would not talk to her and had been trying to drive her out.

“I own my own home and I don't want to leave,” she said. “No one really talks to me.

“They just don't like me and they need someone to whinge about.”

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