IN COURT: Timothy Thomas O’Neil faced Dalby Magistrates Court on October 13. Picture: Andy Rogers
IN COURT: Timothy Thomas O’Neil faced Dalby Magistrates Court on October 13. Picture: Andy Rogers

Man destroys 4km of crops during expensive night of pigging

A FARMER’S livelihood was destroyed by a Dalby man who said he was only looking for pigging dogs when he broke a farm gate and drove through 4km of wheat crops in the process.

Timothy Thomas O’Neil’s expensive night pigging was heard in Dalby Magistrates Court, where he was charged with wilful damage, trespass, and two counts of failing to properly secure weapons.

The court heard on the early morning of September 10 about 12.35am, O’Neil and another man attended a property at Ranges Bridge.

Police prosecutor senior constable Jodie Tahana said the defendant had damaged the fence to the property to gain entry, and driven through four kilometres of wheat, damaging the crop.

“The defendant then entered and remained on the property without the permission of the victim,” she said.

“Police have taken up with the victim who provided police with farm cam footage which showed a white Ute enter the property, before the defendant made his way over the damaged fence.”

Dalby Magistrates Court. Picture: File
Dalby Magistrates Court. Picture: File

The court heard they couldn’t catch his licence plate, however the vehicle had distinguishing features.

More footage was provided by the victim from August 31, showing another blue ute that attended the property.

Police conducted checks on the blue ute’s registration, and located the white ute at a Dalby address, and spoke to O’Neil about the incident.

Senior constable Tahana said the defendant denied any knowledge of the incident, and told police he had been sleeping in bed that night.

Even when police told him about the farm cam footage tying him to the scene, he continued to say it wasn’t him, and was subsequently taken to the station and given a notice to appear.

The court heard the farmer was seeking restitution of $400 for the gate, and $1600 for the damaged crops.

Senior constable Tahana then told the court of the firearm offences on September 11 about 10am, when they attended O’Neil’s address to conduct a weapons audit.

Police located a number of rifles in a gun safe which was not secured to the ground, and found small ammunition inside which wasn’t stored separately from the rifles.

He was given a notice to appear.

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Duty lawyer Claire Graham said the father of three was pigging with his son on the evening of the trespass and wilful damage charges, and had entered the property to retrieve their pigging dogs.

Ms Graham said he had been a weapons holder his whole life, with the unsecured gun safe coming from his father’s place.

The court heard he had been before the court 17 years ago for previous matters, with Ms Graham stating fines were in range.

Magistrate Tracy Mossop told O’Neil it was an expensive night of pigging for him.

“It’s unfortunate for you that you lied to the police,” she said.

“Simply be honest about what happened.”

O’Neil pleaded guilty to all charges and was fined $500 for wilful damage, and ordered to pay $2,000 restitution.

For the trespass charge he was fined $200.

For the firearms offences he was given one fine of $600.

No convictions were recorded.