Amilcar Appel was charged with thirteen offences under the Electrical Safety Act 2002 relating to electrical work he conducted at properties around Brisbane through the online marketplace “Airtasker”.
He did not hold, and had never held, an electrical contractor licence or electrical worker licence. Despite this, he accepted jobs through “Airtasker” involving the performance of electrical work and claimed to be a qualified electrician.
The offences charged were as follows:
- Four section 40C (category 2) offences concerning dangerous electrical work which exposed individuals to a risk of death or serious injury;
- Eight section 55(1) offences relating to the performance of electrical work while not holding an electrical work licence; and
- One section 56(1) offence relating to conducting a business or undertaking including the performance of electrical work while not holding an electrical contractor licence.
Mr Appel did not engage at all with the investigation or prosecution, and made no appearance at any stage of the court proceedings. Despite this, Magistrate Merrin was satisfied that Mr Appel was properly served, advised of the proceedings, and made aware that the matter could be dealt with in his absence.
On 29 March 2019 Magistrate Merrin convicted and fined Mr Appel $20,000 in relation to each of the four category 2 offences, and a sum of $20,000 in relation to the remaining nine offences (pursuant to section 55 and 56), amounting to a total penalty of $100,000.
The court ordered that convictions be recorded, with her Honour referring to the period of time over which the offences occurred, and the considerable risk associated with the work conducted by the defendant.
In sentencing Mr Appel, Magistrate Merrin referred to the statement of facts and submissions on penalty provided by the prosecution, as well as the principles set out in Williamson v VH & MG Imports Pty Ltd  QDC 56 and Steward v Mac Plant Pty Ltd and Mac Farms Pty Ltd  QDC 20. Her Honour had particular regard to the following matters:
- The importance of general and specific deterrence;
- Although no one was killed or injured, the potential consequences of the defendant's conduct were significant;
- The overall cumulative impact of the penalty;
- The defendant had no relevant previous convictions;
- The defendant did not cooperate with the investigation and there was no suggestion he felt remorse;
- The defendant benefited financially in conducting the work and this resulted in a financial loss to the customers who engaged him.
Her Honour accepted the submissions made by the prosecution that the offence pursuant to s56(1) was more serious than the charges pursuant to s 55(1) in the circumstances, and deserving of higher specific and general deterrence.
- Electricity, gas, water and waste services
- Date of offence:
- Brisbane Magistrates Court
- Magistrate Merrin
- Four breaches under s.40C Electrical Safety Act 2002; Eight breaches under s.55(1) Electrical Safety Act 2002; One breach under s.56(1) Electrical Safety Act 2002
- Decision date:
- Total penalty of $100,000
- Maximum Penalty:
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number: