Tribunal yet to rule on Molly
THE OWNER of Molly the dog may be slugged with a $3400 bill for council impounding fees regardless of whether the animal is found guilty of killing sheep.
Butchulla elder Aunty Frances Gala says her Great Dane cross Molly is innocent of the attack which left several sheep dead on the Glendyne Education and Training Centre at Nikenbah earlier this year.
The case was taken to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal last week.
Tribunal member Susan Bothman is yet to make a decision on the fate of Molly.
Ms Bothman evicted the media from the courtroom but allowed council staff to remain during the proceedings.
QCAT has since told the Fraser Coast Chronicle the tribunal should have remained open and training procedures would be reviewed as a result of the error.
A transcript of the hearing was provided to the Fraser Coast Chronicle this week.
During the hearing, Ms Bothman said she believed the proceeding was a closed matter but agreed to allow a former and current council employee to remain in the room.
“I understand ... the default position tends to be that we're not open,” Ms Bothman said.
“On the other hand, if all four people present are members of the council ...,” she said.
Barrister Sarah Laikind, acting for Ms Gala, pointed out the case had been widely reported in the media and Ms Gala did not object to reporters remaining in the room.
“I don't think we need a reporter in here today, thank you,” Ms Bothman said.
“I know there are specific provisions, but I don't know them off by heart either. Normally it doesn't arise. My own view is that I would prefer the matters to be contained and not be subject to reportage.”
Ms Bothman has since been advised by QCAT that the matter should have remained open to the public – and to the media.
Ms Gala believed Ms Bothman showed bias towards the council by allowing council staff – and not reporters – to remain in the tribunal when the member believed it was a closed matter.
“I heard her say no to the press and I was surprised,” Ms Gala said.
“Everything about Molly's case was already known and we had nothing to hide.
“They had no proof and there was no blood on her.
“If the member rules in favour of the council then I have asked my lawyer if we can appeal.”
Ms Gala has raised eight-year-old Molly since she was a pup.
“Poor old Mol, it's hard not seeing her,” she said.