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Queensland Property Developer Fined $125,000 for Breach of Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997

On Tuesday 5th December 2023, in the Gympie Magistrates Court, the owner of the final stage of a local townhouse development, Corella Rd Dev Pty Ltd, was slapped with a hefty $125,000 fine for breaching section 29 of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997. This verdict comes after the developer was found guilty of the offence on May 19, 2022. The initial charge stemmed from the developer’s decision to alter the final stage’s development without the requisite notice to the Body Corporate, all before seeking necessary development approval from the Council.

Despite the guilty verdict handed down on May 19, 2022, the sentencing was delayed as the developer appealed the Magistrate’s decision to the District Court. The appeal was dismissed on August 4, 2023, reinforcing the initial guilty verdict. The Body Corporate, which initiated the prosecution at its own expense, sought not only a substantial fine but also reimbursement for costs incurred.

In sentencing, the learned Magistrate agreed that a significant penalty was warranted. Consequently, 62.5% of the maximum possible fine, amounting to $200,175, was imposed on the developer. Notably, half of the fine, totaling $62,500, was earmarked for payment to the Body Corporate. Additionally, the developer was ordered to cover the Body Corporate’s costs, exceeding $115,000.

While grappling with the ramifications of this verdict, Corella Rd Dev Pty Ltd has lodged an appeal of the District Court decision with the Queensland Court of Appeal. This appeal remains ongoing and holds the potential to be amended to contest the sentencing imposed today.

Throughout these legal proceedings, the Body Corporate has been represented by the team headed by Queensland Partner Michael Kleinschmidt at Bugden Allen Graham Lawyers and, previously, Stratum Legal. As the case continues to unfold, the legal community awaits further developments in this high-profile dispute.