Sunshine Coast solar provider has fine reduced on appeal

A SUNSHINE Coast businessman has successfully appealed a fine he was given for failing to supply goods within a reasonable time to a central Queensland farmer.

On July 9, 2015 John Ernest Gavey was fined $10,000 at the Maroochydore Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to Office of Fair Trading charges for not providing a solar system to a Lowmead farmer who had paid him more than $14,000.

Mr Gavey, trading as Solazone, had failed to provide the new solar system he had recommended 11 months after being paid. Mr Gavey ordered the product with his supplier, but paid only $1000 deposit, despite knowing the product was worth more than $10,400.

But Mr Gavey appealed the $10,000 fine as excessive - pointing to the fact he repaid the farmer and had pleaded guilty to the charges.

He told the court the fine was punishing him for the "sin of trying to keep my business afloat".

"I have lost my business, I have lost my family, my house, my shops where we were working and my income," he said.

"There is enormous pain and regret going through all this and I've been apologetic to the customer the whole time whilst promising a solution that he would not lose his money."

Mr Gavey submitted the fine be dropped to $2000 - claiming it would still be "a huge penalty" but one he could manage.

Judge Gary Long ruled the fine had been excessive - but not to the degree Mr Gavey claimed.

"The Acting Magistrate has failed to take into account the full significance of the appellant's guilty plea and his remorse and ultimate repayment of the consumer, after his earlier efforts to organise the supply of the battery set had failed," he said.

He ruled the fine be reduced to $8000.


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