News

Webster cleared of poisoning trees

A FORMER mayoral candidate accused by council of trying to poison trees on the Hervey Bay Esplanade was yesterday cleared of the crime on the basis of insufficient evidence.

Peter Francis Webster, who ran for mayor of the North Burnett region in the 2008 council elections, appeared in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court charged with interfering with or destroying plants in a park or reserve.

Mr Webster pleaded not guilty to sprinkling the herbicide tebuthiuron on a 100-metre stretch of land on the Esplanade at Pt Vernon.

His next-door neighbour Gaye Ah Quay, a former Fraser Coast Council compliance officer, said she witnessed Mr Webster sprinkling pellets on the foreshore at dusk on October 26, 2010.

She made a complaint to council, who investigated the matter along with the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) and a private investigator.

The court heard council workers examined and photographed the scene, where they found the white pellets spanning an area of about 100 metres and sent a sample to Brisbane for chemical analysis.

A number of witnesses, including representatives from the council and DERM, gave evidence they had seen dead trees and plants in the area where the pellets were found.

The private investigator provided Ms Ah Quay with a photoboard and she identified Mr Webster as the man she'd seen that night.

However, Magistrate Tom Killeen said the case had been "poorly investigated" and included no scientific evidence that the herbicide had damaged the vegetation.

The matter was dismissed and Mr Webster made no application for costs.

Topics:  crime, fraser coast regional council, hervey bay esplanade, hervey bay magistrates court, trees




Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Father calls for pontoon safety following death of son

Memorial service for Joel Winterton at the park below the Lamington Bridge where he drowned. Friends farewell him with a floral tribute from the pontoon he was fishing from. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Investigations are needed regarding the best way to improve safety

Fraser Coast gets its fair share: MPs

Only $12 million has been secured since the grants started last year

Cities snap up designated Coast funds

Cash money Photo:Barry Leddicoat / Sunshine Coast Daily

The Fraser Coast is just one of many regions missing out on funding

Latest deals and offers

Worlds Greatest Pubfest 2016

The Ders cross a road at the 2016 World's Greatest Pub Fest in Maryborough. Photo: Jocelyn Watts / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Some of the action from PubFest 2016 as revellers make their way around 13 pubs in...

Bucking good night at Hervey Bay PBR

Thousands turn out for Hervey Bay's PBR ride.

WATCH: Russell Booth waxed for charity

Check out the Russell Booth's pain endurance at this year's Maryborough PubFest. Mr...

Demand for acreage lots pushes up property prices

Property values in Cooroy have increased 25%

Property values jump in Cooroy and Peachester.

How a sacked real estate agent made $725k in four months

Agent is now under investigation by the industry watchdog

RBA warns of future apartment oversupply

Toowoomba: Crest Apartments and Burke & Wills, Ruthven Street ( view from Neil Street) Photo Bev Lacey / The Chronicle

RBA says oversupply of apartments poses risk to household finances