A magistrate has dismissed charges against Peter Piccolo after his dispute with Griffith City Council came to a head in Griffith Local Court.
Mr Piccolo was fined by council late last year after he hosted the event ‘A Taste of Griffith’ at his Mallinson Road property, but decided to dispute the fine in court due to inconsistencies in council’s approach.
While he pleaded guilty to the offence of hosting a ‘development without consent’ Mr Piccolo’s legal representation asked the Magistrate to deal favourably with their submissions under s10(1) (a), thus seeing the charge against him dismissed.
Mr Piccolo said he was happy to plead guilty to the offence and let the magistrate decide the outcome in order to not delay the process and to prevent further cost to both him and the ratepayers.
He said the decision was in the best interests of common sense and the community.
In her submissions to the magistrate, solicitor for Mr Piccolo Vicki Wade said it was unjustly harsh and unfair for her client to have been penalised.
Ms Wade drew comparisons between the Griffith Vintage Festival and Mr Piccolo’s event, which was a three-and-a-half hour event for 150 people with no structures erected and no traffic or parking issues created.
“He attempted his best to ascertain form council its requirements, relied on verbal advice and the implicit support of council advertising the event on its official website and social media profiles,” her submission read.
Ms Wade submitted to the court that Mr Piccolo’s event was advertised on Griffith City Council’s website on August 30 2016 as well as on the @visitgriffith official Instagram page on October 8.
“While we acknowledge Griffith City Council may issue penalty notices to whom it chooses it is our submission policies of council should be applied in a just, equal and fair manner. . .so there is no confusion for residents,” the submissions read.
In a response on behalf of Griffith City Council acting general manager Neil Southorn reiterated council’s previous stance.
“There was no debate on the legal matters previously raised by the Solicitor for Mr Piccolo,” Mr Southorn said.
“Council accepts the Court decision and is progressing with development of a new policy to help guide event organisers.”