Past Court Cases · Nature & the Reef

Booth v Yardley ("Flying-fox case 4")

25 November, 2008

EDO Qld acted for conservationist Carol Booth in an unusual case involving admissions by a fruit grower in the media that he had been electrocuting flying-foxes in defiance of a Queensland Government ban on this method of crop protection. Our client succeeded in obtaining a court order for the dismantlement of the electric grids, although it took two contempt proceedings to achieve the outcome.

In early 2006 Dick Yardley, a lychee grower from Mirriwinni in North Queensland, claimed in two media interviews that he had electrocuted 1100 spectacled flying-foxes since 2001 and that he did not believe the government’s decision to ban the use of electric grids for crop protection was valid.

In the absence of a government prosecution, Dr Booth applied to the Planning and Environment Court (under the Nature Conservation Act 1992) for orders against Dick and Antje Yardley to restrain their use of the electric grids, to require dismantlement of the grids and to require a financial contribution by the Yardleys for the rehabilitiation of flying-foxes.

An interim enforcement order – the first issued under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 – was granted by Judge Rackemann until the full hearing.

In the full hearing, Judge Wilson found that the Yardleys had breached the law in operating their electric grids and that they were likely to continue using the grids unless restrained. He ordered that the grids be dismantled within three months.

When the Yardleys failed to dismantle the grids, our client brought proceedings for contempt, in 2007 and again in 2008. After the second contempt proceedings were initiated, the grids were dismantled. The Yardleys were fined $5000.