A Hawera freezing worker has avoided being sent to jail for not cleaning up an illegal waste dump on his farm.
The Taranaki Regional Council had asked the Environment Court to consider jailing Alan Victor Mouland, 61. But instead, he was ordered to complete 250 hours of community work.
He will also be confined to his home from 4pm on Saturday to 2.45pm on Monday for the next six months under a community detention sentence. The maximum penalty for the charge was $300,000, or two years in prison.
At Mouland's sentencing yesterday, the council put forward a written document suggesting prison would be the most appropriate punishment, based on his actions over the past three years.
Mouland was one of five people found guilty of illegally dumping waste in a gully on his farm in 2009 after the council caught them in the act with surveillance cameras.
At the time, Judge Brian Dwyer said toxic pollutants were found in the soil and water at levels which "grossly violated" ecological guidelines.
Air was also polluted during the burning of dump waste when thick black smoke swept over Hawera.
Council officers who searched the site found batteries, oil, paint, asbestos and electrical waste among other items in the landfill.
In 2011, Mouland was found guilty of ignoring a council enforcement order requiring him to clean up the dump site.
At the time he had also failed to pay $50,000 in fines handed to him in 2009. Although he paid the fines late last year, Mouland failed to carry out clean up work on the site which was eventually done by the council.
Yesterday, Judge Dwyer criticised Mouland for failing to complete what was required of him.
"You've passed the cost of the remedial work on to the ratepayers of Taranaki."
"This was serious and deliberate offending which you refused to take accountability for."
Judge Dwyer said Mouland's ignorance to comply with those requirements suggested there was no remorse for his actions.
After sentencing, Mouland said he had learned his lesson and was pleased the matter had come to an end.
"I'm quite happy with the outcome and I now look forward to getting on with the rest of my life.
"I have no intention of doing anything like that ever again."
Council compliance manager Bruce Pope said it had been a serious case in terms of the detrimental effects on the environment, and its longevity.
"It just shows how serious this sort of offending is taken. Farmers need to be extremely vigilant with how they dump their rubbish."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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