On 29 January 2021, Daniel William Dawes was sentenced ex parte in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for two offences pursuant to the Electrical Safety Act 2002 (‘the Act’) and eight offences pursuant to the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 (‘the Regulation’).

Mr Dawes conducted a business, trading as DD Electrical, through which he contracted for and performed electrical work in the form of installation of air-conditioning units at various properties throughout Brisbane. At all relevant times, the defendant was the holder of an electrical work licence, authorising him to conduct electrical work in Queensland. That licence was cancelled in November 2019 as a result of disciplinary action. The defendant was also previously the holder of an electrical contractor licence, permitting him to contract for electrical work as a sole trader. That licence expired in May 2016 and, from that day, he was not authorised to perform electrical work as a sole trader or operator.

Between 1 November 2017 and 29 December 2017, while not the holder of a valid electrical contracting licence, the defendant advertised his services as an electrician on HiPages. During that period, he contracted with members of the public to conduct electrical work in the form of installation of air-conditioning units at properties at Wooloowin, Gordon Park and Ascot. Homeowners of those properties had posted requests for a quote in relation to the installation of air-conditioning units. The defendant then responded to each of those quotes, subsequently attending each of the properties for the purpose of performing those works, and was paid for the work.

The electrical work conducted by the defendant to install an air-conditioning unit at the property in Wooloowin during November 2017 was found to be deficient. A number of wires attached to the air-conditioning unit had been cut by the defendant and re-connected by twisting the wires together and covering them in tape. That wiring was located within ducting adjacent to the air-conditioning unit. The manner in which the wires were connected gave rise to the potential that the wiring would overheat, causing a fire or exposing the live wiring, with any person who came into contact with such live wiring being at risk of electrical shock.

Between 9 December 2016 and 28 December 2017, the defendant installed air-conditioning units at eight properties located in Ashgrove, Wilston, Newstead, Gordon Park, Ascot, Cashmere, North Lakes and Murrarie. Electrical Safety Office inspectors subsequently examined the work performed by the defendant. On each occasion, the inspectors found that the installation work did not comply with the Wiring Rules in force at the relevant time. While the manner in which the installations did not comply with the Wiring Rules differed across the properties, there were some similar failures including the failure to fit an isolation switch in relation to four of the installations.

His Honour was satisfied that the defendant had been served and that sufficient steps had been taken to bring the proceedings to the attention of the defendant and to notify him that the matter would proceed ex parte. His Honour was satisfied that the requirements of section 142A of the Justices Act 1886 had been complied with.

In sentencing the defendant, his Honour acknowledged there was a need for specific and general deterrence, having regard to the potential risks associated with improper electrical work. His Honour observed the defendant had incompetently installed a number of air-conditioning units. It was acknowledged that the defendant was a qualified electrician who held an electrical work licence at the relevant times and had previously held an electrical contractor’s licence.

His Honour had regard to the defendant’s lack of previous convictions, the maximum penalties for the offences and to the details of the offences before the court. It was acknowledged that, due to the defendant’s absence, there were no submissions as to the defendant’s capacity to pay a fine. His Honour determined to record a conviction in relation to each of the charges.

OWHSP contact: enquiries@owhsp.qld.gov.au

Court Report

General
Industry
Electricity, gas, water and waste services
Date of offence
Injury
Nil
Court
Brisbane Magistrates Court
Magistrate or judge
Magistrate Noel Nunan
Decision date
Daniel William Dawes t/as DD Electrical
Legislation

Charge 1: Section 56 Electrical Safety Act 2002 Charge 2: Sections 30 and 40C Electrical Safety Act 2002 Charges 3 to 10: Regulation 70 Electrical Safety Regulation 2013

Plea
N/A (ex parte)
Penalty
Convicted and fined $30,000
Maximum fine available
Charge 1: $40,000 Charge 2: $300,000 Charges 3 to 10: $4,000
Professional and legal costs
$1,000
Court costs
$99.70
In default period
N/A
Time to pay
Referred to SPER
Conviction recorded
Yes