Auckland, May 24, 2019
Home detention and financial penalties have been handed down to two people and a company for illegally dumping oil drums in Manurewa and the Waitākere Ranges earlier this year.
Devendra Prakash, Director, D Bhagyanil Company Limited, was convicted and sentenced under the Resource Management Act today (May 24) at the Auckland District Court on 28 charges relating to illegally dumping hazardous material in February last year.
Mr Prakash was sentenced to three months home detention plus six months probation and was further ordered to pay the Auckland Council $17,195.61 in reparations.
District Court Judge Melanie Harland noted during the sentencing that the illegal dumping was deliberate, serious and reckless offending for commercial gain that led to associated environmental effects.
Mr Prakash’s former employee, Harampreet Singh, was also sentenced for the same offending in October and was convicted but discharged.
Judge Harland said that he had been served with a deportation order. This matter has been referred to Immigration NZ.
The pair were identified and charged following an extensive investigation by Auckland Council after Mayor Phil Goff announced increased efforts to tackle illegal dumping in Auckland in February last year.
Catch them at any cost
Mayor Phil Goff welcomed the sentence saying, “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that if you dump illegally, we will catch you and you will pay a high price.
“There is no excuse for illegal dumping. I am sick of it and so are Aucklanders. We have a stunning natural environment and it deserves better than to be treated like a rubbish-tip by an errant few,” he said.
Mr Goff said this case was particularly nasty as the guilty party dumped oil barrels and used oil filters containing oil and toxic chemicals. It was harmful to the environment and the ratepayer had to pick up the bill for disposing of their mess properly.
“Today’s sentencing under the RMA sends a strong message that if you illegally dump we will track you down and throw the book at you. And, where possible, we won’t be seeking a small fine under the Litter Act, we will use the RMA to its full extent to make sure penalties fit the crime and we stop people trashing our city.
“What I would really like to see is offenders like this sentenced to spending their weekends out in the community cleaning up rubbish and litter. That would be a great example of the sentence fitting the crime,” he said.
Uncommon practice for Council
Steve Pearce, Auckland Council’s Regulatory Compliance Manager, said, “Where we have sufficient evidence, we make sure that offenders are held accountable for the costs of their offending and the reparation award in this case has prevented ratepayers from footing the bill.
“It is relatively uncommon for us to end up in the court and seek a sentence of imprisonment. However, the deliberate nature of this offending and the potential significance of the environmental effects left us with no option,” he said.
Significant new resources
In February last year, Mayor Goff announced significant new resources to tackle illegal dumping including an 0800 hotline to report dumpers, additional enforcement staff, doubling the number of surveillance cameras in hotspot areas and accelerating the process to clean up dumped material in public areas.
Since launching the crackdown, prosecutions have doubled and there has been a nearly three-fold increase in Litter Infringement Notices.
Mayor Goff’s Annual Budget agreed by Council this week confirms continued funding for the illegal dumping crackdown of $200,000 for the financial year 2019/20.
Mr Goff said, “We will prosecute illegal dumping cases as hard as we can, but the only way we can catch them is to have the whole community on board. If you see dumped rubbish or someone dumping rubbish, please call 0800 NO DUMP to report it.”