Gate closes on trespass claim
IT IS a dispute that has spanned years, left the council $29,000 out of pocket and yesterday it culminated in a court appearance and a $15 bill for a broken padlock.
Lindsay Edward Madsen, was yesterday found not guilty of trespassing on his neighbour's land, after the two became embroiled in a bitter feud over property lines.
Back in 2010, the Elbow Valley man found a road he had constructed and which led to his property, had been cut by a fence his neighbour had just constructed.
The Warwick Magistrates Court yesterday heard the neighbour paid a surveyor $2700 and had a fence built in accordance to his work.
Council inspections found the fence had been constructed legally and with approval but the council later paid $24,000 towards the construction of a new access road to Madsen's property.
They also paid the neighbour $5000 when the fence in question was damaged during the construction of the new road.
Madsen, who turned 64 yesterday, used bolt cutters to cut a padlock from a gate on the new fence on September 19.
He then drove through the gate to his property.
Madsen was later charged with one count of trespass and one of wilful damage over the broken padlock.
During his court appearance yesterday, the Elbow Valley man said he did not believe the surveying work done was accurate and nor was he trespassing.
He maintained he had a lawful right to be on the land at the time.
The surveyor who performed to do the work was not called to give evidence in relation to the accuracy of his work.
Magistrate Graham Lee told police prosecutor Ken Wiggan he shared Madsen's concerns about property alignment and found him not guilty of trespass.
He said the prosecution could not offer strong enough evidence to show the surveyor's work was accurate or the fencing was in the appropriate position.
"I think Mr Madsen's point is well-made in regards to what is (the neighbour's) actual land," he said.
"It hasn't been established what (the neighbour's) land is beyond a reasonable doubt."
Despite being cleared of that charge, Madsen stood before the court and admitted guilt to the wilful damage charge.
He told the court he did indeed cut the locks and was happy to pay the $15 restitution sought by his neighbour.
Madsen - who has no criminal history - was put on a $150 good behaviour bond for six months and ordered to pay for the lock.
No conviction was recorded against him.