Frippery Case

This case study provides an example of an application in the Planning and Environment Court to restrain an offence against the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld) and an appeal to the Court of Appeal.

The facts of the case involved the operation of an electric grid to protect a lychee crop from flying-foxes in North Queensland. A picture of the entrance to the farm and part of the electric grid are shown on the right of this page. The horizonal wires from the pole were electrified to form the electric grid used to electrocute flying-foxes that collided with it at night.

A number of original court documents, such as consent and directions orders, are included in the key documents below to show the mechanics of the application and the appeal.

At the first trial in 2005 in Townsville, Pack DCJ dismissed the application. This decision was overturned on appeal and the Court of Appeal ordered the case be re-heard by a different judge. The hearing of the re-trial was transferred to Brisbane.

At the second trial in 2007 in Brisbane, Robin QC DCJ granted the application and ordered the grids be dismantled. An application for leave to appeal against this decision was dismissed for failing to comply with the Court of Appeal's directions on the conduct of the application.

In 2008 contempt proceedings were lodged for an alleged failure to comply with the Court's order to dismantle the electric grids. The respondents were found guilty of contempt and fined $5000.

Key documents in the case are:

Originating Application

Maps and photographs of farm

  • Photographs of farm entrance exhibited to affidavit of Dominque Thiriet.

Interim orders

First trial

First appeal

Second trial

  • Orders made by Robin QC DCJ on 16 September 2007.

Second appeal

  • Order of the Court of Appeal dismissing an Application for Leave to Appeal.

Contempt proceedings

Federal Court proceedings

In response to this litigation the lychee farmers applied to the Federal Court to restrain the applicant in the Queensland courts, Dr Booth, and her solicitors from undertaking the litigation. The lychee farmers also sought $1,000,000 damages against Dr Booth and her solicitors for undertaking the litigation in the Queensland courts.

The solicitors applied to have the proceedings in the Federal Court struck-out on the basis that they are frivolous and vexatious and an abuse of process. At the hearing of the strike-out application the lychee farmers sought to discontinue the proceedings. Collier J allowed the proceedings to be discontinued but awarded costs on an indemnity basis.

Key documents in the Federal Court proceedings are:




Page photos: Top and middle pictures from Townsville Bulletin newspaper (6 September 2005, page 3).

Bottom picture: Courier Mail newspaper (17-18 September 2007)