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Prosecutions

Energy Safe Victoria's prosecution outcomes.

  • Date of outcome

    12 February 2024 at Sunshine Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Taylor Brady pleaded guilty to recklessly tampering with a meter assembly and failure to comply with prescribed standards. Mr Brady, a registered gasfitter, removed the outlet bend from the gas meter assembly and left the property without replacing the outlet bend on the gas meter assembly, sealing the outlet of the gas meter assembly or sealing the gas fitting line. The offending occurred at a property in St Albans in April 2021.

    Court outcome

    Taylor Brady was fined $1,800.

    Which Act/Regulation

    S 79D and 72(1) Gas Safety Act 1997 (Vic)

  • Date of outcome

    30 November 2023 at Sunshine Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Your Local Plumbing Group Melbourne Pty Ltd was found guilty of recklessly tampering with a meter assembly and failure to comply with prescribed standards. A plumber attending on the company’s behalf removed the outlet bend from the gas meter assembly and left the property without replacing the outlet bend on the gas meter assembly, sealing the outlet of the gas meter assembly or sealing the gas fitting line. The offending occurred at a property in St Albans in April 2021.

    Court outcome

    Your Local Plumbing Group Melbourne Pty Ltd was convicted and fined $20,000.

    Which Act/Regulation

    S 79D and 72(1) Gas Safety Act 1997 (Vic)

  • Date of outcome

    19 October 2023 at Dromana Magistrates Court

    Summary of conduct

    John Coburn, a Victorian Building Authority licensed plumber and gas fitter, was found guilty of 6 charges under the Gas Safety Act 1997 for offences which occurred in December 2020 at a Holiday Park in Dromana. The charges related to the complex gas installation of a Maytag gas dryer in a communal laundry at the holiday park which was carried out and commissioned without acceptance from Energy Safe Victoria, and for failing to comply with the prescribed standards (AS/NZS 5601.1) in relation to the gas dryer complex gas installation.

    The non-compliances with prescribed standards related to:

    1. the consumer piping
    2. flue clearance from a combustible surface
    3. flue support
    4. lint removal access opening
    5. failing to display the dryer’s operating instructions.

    Court outcome

    John Coburn was fined $1,500 without conviction.

    Which Act/Regulation

    Sections 72(2)(a) and 73(1) of the Gas Safety Act 1997

  • Date of outcome

    11 October 2023 at Frankston Magistrates Court

    Summary of conduct

    United Energy were found guilty of 24 charges under s. 90 of the Electricity Safety Act 1998 for failing to maintain vegetation clearances around power lines on its electricity network on the Mornington Peninsula and south east of Melbourne

    Under the Electricity Safety Act 1998, United Energy have an obligation to keep the whole or any part of a tree clear of an electric line within its distribution area.

    The offences occurred in hazardous bushfire areas across the Mornington Peninsula and south-eastern suburbs including Langwarrin, Pearcedale, Somerville, Crib Point, Bittern, Tyabb, Balnarring, Tuerong, Dromana, Main Ridge, Moorooduc, Cranbourne South and Mount Martha and related to inspections by Energy Safe compliance officers during the 2021-2022 season.

    Court outcome

    United Energy was convicted and ordered to pay an aggregate fine of $80,000 plus costs of $13,200.

    Which Act/Regulation

    Section 90 of the Electricity Safety Act 1998

  • Date of outcome

    17 August 2023 at Frankston Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Mark Haworth was found guilty of failing to comply with a prescribed standard in relation to the replacement of a thermocouple and reconnection of a gas feeder tube on a gas stovetop, which resulted in the gas installation being unsafe for use upon completion of his work. It was also identified that he was not licensed to carry out the gas fitting work. The offence occurred in July 2021 at a residential property in Mount Martha.

    Court outcome

    Mark Haworth was fined $600 without conviction.

    Which Act/Regulation

    Gas Safety Act 1997 (Vic): s 72(2).

  • Date of outcome

    10 August 2023 at Ringwood Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    J.L. Hutt Electrical and its director, Jason Hutt, together with Austin Calverley (licensed electrical installation worker and on-site supervisor) were found guilty of various offences relating to the electric shock and resulting injuries sustained by an unsupervised electrical apprentice, after touching a live junction box.

    The apprentice was working alone under a house completing rewiring work near energised electrical circuits. The on-site supervisor was on the roof and not providing direct supervision.

    JL Hutt Electrical was also found guilty of breaching the Occupational Health and Safety Act in related proceeding brought by WorkSafe.

    Court outcome

    J.L. Hutt Electrical and Jason Hutt received fines and incurred costs totalling $30,599 in relation to the prosecutions brought by Energy Safe and WorkSafe. Austin Calverley was fined $2,500.

    Which Act/Regulation

    Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic): s 35(3) and 43(4).

    Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019 (Vic): r 262, 401(2) and 507(1).

  • Date of outcome

    10 July 2023 at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Hydroxygas Pty Ltd and its director Renaud Kobrynski, were found guilty of failing to comply with a Direction issued by the Chairperson of Energy Safe under s 141(2) of the Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic), relating to an unsafe electrical installation (a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)) at a Footscray Factory in November 2021.

    The BESS was re-connected to the main switchboard at the factory after it had been disconnected by ESV due to safety concerns and in contravention of the Direction.

    Court outcome

    Hydroxygas and Renaud Kobrynski were convicted and fined $50,000 and $10,000 respectively for breaching the Direction.

    Which Act/Regulation

    Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic): s 38 and 141(4).

  • Date of outcome

    22 June 2023 at Frankston Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Scott Civil Construction Pty Ltd was found guilty of carrying out excavation work within three metres of a gas transmission pipeline without the authority of the gas company owner or operator, at the property in Frankston South in September 2020.

    Court outcome

    Scott Civil Construction Pty Ltd was fined $1,700

    Which Act/Regulation

    Gas Safety Act 1997 (Vic): s 79C.

  • Date of outcome

    8 May 2023 at Werribee Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Keenan Grobler was found guilty of ten charges under the Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic) and nine charges under the Building Act 1993 (Vic) in relation to the installation of split system air-conditioners and light fittings at five different properties, in circumstances where he was not licenced or registered to perform these electrical and plumbing works.

    Court outcome

    Keenan Grobler was convicted and fined $10,000.

    Which Act/Regulation

    Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic): s 38(a).

    Building Act 1993 (Vic): s 221D(1).

  • Date of outcome

    10 March 2023 at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Pro Install Electrical Pty Ltd was found guilty of 47 charges in relation to the submission of false and misleading information to Energy Safe Victoria.

    The offences occurred between June 2019 and March 2020 and related to the false nomination of a Technical Supervisor without their consent and knowledge, and the lodgement of Certificates of Electrical Safety using names and license numbers of licensed electrical workers who did not carry out or supervise the electrical installation work which occurred.

    Court outcome

    Pro Install was convicted and fined $12,000.

    Pro Install went into liquidation in April 2021.

    Which Act/Regulation

    Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic): s 148(1).

  • Date of Outcome

    14 December 2022 at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Airconic Pty Ltd was found guilty to failing to ensure gas fitting work complied with AS/NZS 5601.1-2013 in relation to a gas pipe failing to hold pressure during a pressure test which was connected to a 10 burner cooker in a commercial kitchen in Brunswick in October 2020.

    The Court reprimanded Airconic Pty Ltd and stated they need to ensure they comply with all the required standards and legislative requirements because there are important safety reasons as to why these standards are in place and there can be serious consequences when gas pipes leak.

    Court outcome

    The matter was found proven by the Court however no penalty was imposed pursuant to s 76 Sentencing Act 1991, because the Court took into consideration Airconic Pty Ltd’s early plea of guilty, no prior criminal history and the fact gas pipe was rectified so that it held pressure.

  • Date of Outcome

    9 November 2022 at Geelong Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    William Greig was charged with:

    1. Failing to comply with prescribed standards and requirements for work on gas installation, and
    2. Proving false or misleading information.

    In April 2021, the offender installed a char grill (Type A appliance) and a gas fitting line for a commercial kitchen (a complex gas installation) at commercial premises in Ocean Grove. Prior to the works being undertaken ESV completed a technical review of the gas application and provided the offender with several links to gas technical information sheets, which, among other things, alerted the installer to check the clearance between the gas appliance and the exhaust canopies.

    In May 2021 the offender certified that the gas installation was complete and met the requirements of the Gas Safety Act.

    An inspection by ESV in May 2021 identified a non-compliance, with the clearance between the char grill and the gas canopy being 1230mm, less than the prescribed minimum clearance of 1350mm.

    The offender failed to pay a $661 infringement notice issued by ESV, prompting ESV to commence proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court.

    The offender did not attend Court and the matter was heard in his absence.

    Court outcome

    Convicted and fined.

    • In relation to charge 1 the accused was fined $1,200 and ordered to pay statutory costs of $131.50.
    • In relation to charge 2 the accused was fined $2,000.

    Which Act/Regulations

    s72(2) Gas Safety Act 1997 (Vic)

    s117 Gas Safety Act 1997 (Vic)

  • Date of Outcome

    13 October 2022 at Geelong Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Lara Plumbing Pty Ltd was found guilty of knowingly tampering with a gas meter, by moving a gas meter without the permission of the meter owner.

    Court outcome

    Lara Plumbing Pty Ltd was convicted and fined $7,500.

    Which Act/Regulation

    S 79D Gas Safety Act 1997 (Vic)

  • Date of Outcome

    10 October 2022 at Werribee Magistrates Court

    Summary of conduct

    ESV laid charges against Ridgewater Plumbing Pty Ltd under the Gas Safety Act 1997 in relation to non- compliance with an Improvement Notice issued in relation to a complex gas installation and providing false and misleading information to ESV .

    In 2017 Ridgewater Plumbing Pty Ltd was engaged to install a commercial kitchen at a takeaway food premises in Hopper’s Crossing which involved a complex gas installation of type B gas appliances.

    An audit of the site on 8 May 2019 by an ESV Inspector showed multiple non-compliances with the Gas Safety Act 1997 and the Gas Safety (Gas Installation) Regulations 2018 in relation to the complex gas installation namely an exposed PEX pipe, a deformed limited flex connector, clearance, buffer and ventilation issues.

    An Improvement Notice was subsequently issued and served on Ridgewater Plumbing Pty Ltd directing certain works in relation to the complex gas installation be carried out within a specified date.

    In January 2020, Ridgewater Plumbing Pty Ltd notified ESV that all works required by the Improvement Notice had been completed.

    A inspection by ESV Inspectors in February 2020 showed only one item on the Improvement Notice had been complied with and further non- compliances with the installation were identified.

    The Improvement Notice was later complied with.

    The Magistrate when handing down sentence for both offences stated there were community safety considerations behind the complex gas installation processes which needed to be complied with.

    Court Outcome

    Ridgewater Plumbing Pty Ltd were fined $5000

    Which Act/Regulation

    S111 and s 117 Gas Safety Act 1997 (Vic)

  • Date of outcome

    24 February 2022 at Sunshine Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Parvinder Singh was convicted of offences under 221F of the Building Act, for carrying out specialised plumbing work when he was not licensed or registered with the VBA to carry out that class of work. The accused pleaded guilty to the offence. ESV’s sentencing submissions highlighted the seriousness of the offence, the safety reasons for requiring the specialised training and licensing, that Singh’s poor practices were a direct result of not having undergone that training, and the potential danger to the occupants.

    Court outcome

    Singh was convicted and fined $1,500.

    Which Act/Regulation

    S 221F Building Act 1993 (Vic)

  • Date of outcome

    9 February 2022 at Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Byrne advised a householder that an existing gas meter was inside the building outline of a renovation and required moving. Byrne accepted the owner’s assurances that all necessary permissions had been granted and so relocated it because the:

    weather was cold and the residents needed gas for heating and cooking

    gas company had foreshadowed removal of supply and relocation of the meter some weeks after the building works were completed

    The gas company had not given permission for the meter to be moved.

    Court outcome

    Byrne was granted Diversion with the following conditions:

    • Be of good behaviour until 9 February 2023; and
    • Pay $1,000 to the Court fund.

    Which Act/Regulation

    Ss 79D and 66 Gas Safety Act 1997 (Vic)

  • Date of outcome

    13 December 2021 at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    ESV laid charges against Powercor under section 98 of the Electricity Safety Act after the St Patrick’s Day fires at Terang for failing to comply with its general duty and exposing individuals to hazards and risks including bushfire risk. This case was the first of its kind under the Electricity Safety Act.

    On the evening of 17 March 2018, a day which had been declared as a Total Fire Ban day and had a severe fire danger rating for the South West Fire District, a number of grass fires ignited in the South West region of Victoria. This District is a Hazardous Bushfire Risk Area. Fires affected Yatchaw, Gnotuk, Minjah Laang and Terang and surrounding areas. In total, 89 houses and structures were destroyed.

    Two fires in the Terang area started as a result of defective electricity distribution infrastructure.

    Powercor is responsible for the electricity infrastructure and the distribution of electricity in Victoria’s South West, which includes Terang and the surrounding areas.

    The Terang fire was caused by the clashing of high voltage conductors near the tee of a pole on the south side of High Street in Terang. The grass fire burnt through the localities of Dixie, Cobrico, Cobden, Elingamite, North Elingamite, Glenfyne, Jancourt and Scott’s Creek. The total area burnt was estimated to be 5797 hectares with an approximate perimeter in excess of 80 kilometres.

    Court outcome

    Powercor was convicted and fined $130,000.00

    Which Act/Regulation

    S 98 Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic)

  • Date of outcome

    11 November 2021 at Ringwood Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Michael Van den Brink gave false and misleading information to ESV in connection with gas fitting work, and failed to have Type B gas equipment inspected, was granted a diversion plan on the papers (an alternative to a formal guilty finding).

    Court outcome

    Van Den Brink was granted Diversion with the following conditions:

    • Be of good behaviour until 9 May 2022; and
    • Pay $1,000 to the Court fund.

    Which Act/Regulation

    Ss 73 and 117 Gas Safety Act 1997 (Vic)

  • Date of outcome

    24 August 2021 at Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Paul Gray was convicted on two charges of tampering with a gas meter assembly, two charges of carrying out unlicensed plumbing work, and three charges of carrying out upstream gas work without applying to ESV for approval.

    The Magistrate in handing down sentence for both offences said Gray’s conduct was “completely unacceptable”. The Magistrate also said that deterrence was a consideration in the sentence.

    Court outcome

    Gray was convicted and fined $3,000.00 with costs of $1,500.00 to ESV.

    Which Act/Regulation

    Ss 66 and 79D Gas Safety Act 1997 (Vic)

    S 221D Building Act 1993 (Vic)

  • Date of outcome

    19 August 2021 at Frankston Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Dean Turner was found guilty of carrying out unlicensed electrical work while working on a kitchen renovation. No certificates of electrical safety were provided.

    Court outcome

    Turner was placed on an adjourned undertaking to be of good behaviour without conviction, with a payment of $3500 to the court fund and $1,500.00 costs to ESV.

    Which Act/Regulation

    S 38 Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic)

  • Date of outcome

    18 August 2021 at Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Mohammad Al Mir was convicted of carrying out unlicensed plumbing work. Working on a domestic bathroom renovation at the time, Al Mir also left electrical sockets exposed in the process of stripping a wall. (the socket was not subsequently covered until it could be made safe by a licensed electrician.)

    Court outcome

    Al Mir was convicted and fined a total of $6,500.00 and ordered to pay $1,850.00 costs to ESV.

    Which Act/Regulation

    S 43A(1)(b) Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic)

    S 221D Building Act 1993 (Vic)

  • Date of Outcome

    12 February 2024 at Sunshine Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Taylor Brady pleaded guilty to recklessly tampering with a meter assembly and failure to comply with prescribed standards. Mr Brady, a registered gasfitter, removed the outlet bend from the gas meter assembly and left the property without replacing the outlet bend on the gas meter assembly, sealing the outlet of the gas meter assembly or sealing the gas fitting line. The offending occurred at a property in St Albans in April 2021.

    Court outcome

    Taylor Brady was fined $1,800.

    Which Act/Regulation

    S 79D and 72(1) Gas Safety Act 1997 (Vic)

  • Date of outcome

    18 August 2021 at Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    George and Michael Tsokas were found guilty of carrying out unauthorised electrical work and unlicensed plumbing work. (George Tsokas is the holder of a restricted license and must work under supervision.)

    Court outcome

    Each was fined $2,000.00 without conviction and each ordered to pay $1,000.00 costs to ESV.

    Which Act/Regulation

    S 38 Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic) and s 221D Building Act 1993 (Vic)

  • Date of outcome

    16 August 2021 at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Nicholas Lye, an apprentice electrician, was found guilty of carrying out unlicensed electrical work by installing a split system ait conditioner at a residential premises. Lye was working for a Toby Bell (trading under the name of Ultimate Air Heating & Cooling). Bell held out that his company was able to complete the entire installation of the split system. Bell issued a certificate of compliance for the plumbing work associated with the installation but not a certificate of electrical safety.

    Lye was charged with carrying out unlicensed electrical work under s 38 of the Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic).

    Bell was charged with offences under sections 30 and 36 of the Electrical Safety Act 1998 (Vic) for offering to carry out the electrical installation and employing an unregistered electrical contractor, and s 221E of the Building Act 1993 (Vic) for carrying out plumbing work when he is not a licensed plumber. Bell is also not a licensed electrician.

    Court outcome

    Lye was released on an adjourned undertaking to be of good behaviour for one year and ordered to pay costs of $500.00

    Bell was convicted of offences ex-parte as he did not attend court for these proceedings. Bell was convicted and fined $2,000 and ordered to pay 3,926.06 in costs to ESV.

    Which Act/Regulation

    S 38 Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic)

    Ss 36(1)(a), 36(1)(b) Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic)

    S 221E Building Act 1993 (Vic)

  • Date of outcome

    12 August 2021 at Ringwood Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Bojic was found guilty of 11 offences under the Electricity Safety Act being:

    Between November 2018 and July 2019, Bojic:

    • carried out a prescribed class of electrical contracting when he was not a registered electrical contractor, at four properties at Clematis, Boronia and Berwick (in one case leaving a switchboard with live electrical parts exposed)
    • used the REC’s account to buy certificates of electrical safety without the knowledge of an REC
    • entered false inspection details of certificates for electrical safety for prescribed electrical installation work so victims believed the work had been inspected

    In each case, victims made cash payments to Bojic totalling to $4,480.

    Court outcome

    Convicted and fined $11,000.00.

    Which Act/Regulation

    Ss 30, 38, 36(1)(a), 36(1)(b), 43(1) Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic)

  • Date of outcome

    19 July 2021 at Kyneton Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    Andrew Werner was found guilty of three offences of undertaking electrical installation work at residential premises when he was not licensed to undertake electrical installation work.

    Court outcome

    Werner was placed on an adjourned undertaking for 12 months without conviction, with a special condition to pay $500 to the Court fund.

    Werner was also ordered to pay $1,800 in costs to ESV.

    Which Act/Regulation

    S 38 Electricity Safety Act 1998 (Vic)

  • Date of outcome

    1 July 2021 at Frankston Magistrates’ Court

    Summary of conduct

    There were three successful prosecutions under the Gas Safety Act 1997, involving two plumbers and their company for tampering with a gas meter and carrying out upstream gas work when natural persons were not authorised to do so.

    Court outcome

    Mark Mullinder and Adam Thomas were dealt with separately as co-offenders and each fined $1,200 without conviction with $750 costs.

    Skilled PDF Pty Ltd is in external administration and the liquidator chose not to participate in the proceeding. It was fined $1,500 without conviction.

    Which Act/Regulation

    S 66(a) and s 97D Gas Safety Act 1997 (Vic)

Date: 29/02/2024 2:24

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Reviewed 28 February 2024

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