Medina man fined for illegally dumping asbestos

Stock image.
Stock image.

A MAN who dumped asbestos because he could not afford to get it removed legally has been fined $3000.

Leonard Francis Martin pleaded guilty to depositing litter and transporting material containing asbestos when he appeared at Rockingham Magistrates Court last Friday, August 11.

The prosecutor for the City of Kwinana said Martin was captured on CCTV dumping rubbish near the Millar Road Landfill Facility on May 2, 2017.

At 8.39am, a white ute with a red object and other loose items on the back was seen pulling off the road on to a vacant block.

At 8.44am the same ute was seen leaving the area minus the objects on the back.

Later that day at 12.28pm, the same ute was seen entering the same area with two labelled black packages on the back.

Several minutes later it was seen leaving the area minus the packages.

On May 8, officers from the City inspected the area after viewing the package and found a red bookcase, other rubbish and two black packages, each labelled ‘asbestos’.

One of the packages was torn and the asbestos was visible.

Tests were carried out and returned a positive result for asbestos.

After identifying the man, City officers went to Martin’s house in Medina and questioned him.

He admitted dumping the material and complied with the officers’ requests.

The prosecutor asked for the maximum penalty of $15,000 for general deterrence.

Self-represented, Martin agreed with the facts.

“I just wanted to say I apologise for illegally dumping. I understand the council needs to be seen to enforce the law,” he said.

“I ask to take into consideration I offered through the council to remove the items and do any necessary clean-up myself.

“Mr de Klerk from the City said that would be a good idea and to do that, but when I went there it was all fenced off and I could not access the site.”

Martin asked for a fine at the lower end as he did not have an income because of a failed business and relied on his family for support.

Magistrate Giusseppe Cicchini asked Martin why he did it.

“I tried to avoid the costs because I did not have the money to pay them,” he said.

“Much of the rubbish was placed on the verge but it was not picked up.”

The prosecutor said remediation was sought.

“We do note that he did seek to remediate with the City but as asbestos was dumped the area was fenced for public safety,” she said.

Magistrate Cicchini said general deterrence was a factor.

“The offences are clearly serious and you clearly knew you were dumping in an area you should not have been,” he said.

“It is noted it was wrapped and you take the view it was only a small amount; any exposure can cause harm.

“A deterrent penalty is warranted. You put to court a well presented plea and are remorseful.”

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