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Court imposes $30,000 fine for dodgy electrical work and no licence


10 February 2021

At a recent hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court, Daniel William Dawes was convicted and fined for multiple offences under the Electrical Safety Act 2002 and the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013.

Mr Dawes conducted a business, trading as DD Electrical, which contracted for and performed electrical work such as the installation of air-conditioning units around Brisbane. Originally, the defendant held an electrical work licence, authorising him to conduct electrical work in Queensland. That licence, however, was cancelled in November 2019 as a result of disciplinary action. Mr Dawes also previously held an electrical contractor licence, allowing him to contract for electrical work as a sole trader.

That licence expired in May 2016 and, from that day, he wasn’t authorised to perform electrical work as a sole trader or operator.

Between 1 November 2017 and 29 December 2017, while not holding a valid electrical contracting licence, Mr Dawes advertised his services as an electrician on HiPages. During that period, he contracted to do electrical work, mainly installing air-conditioning units at Wooloowin, Gordon Park and Ascot after homeowners posted requests for quotes. The defendant obliged, subsequently attending the properties to do the work for which he was paid.

The electrical work done by Mr Dawes to install an air-conditioning unit at a Wooloowin property in November 2017 was found to be particularly 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 inside ducting adjacent to the air-conditioning unit. That sub-standard connection had the potential to overheat, causing a fire or exposing the live wiring. Any person who came into contact with such live wiring was also at risk of electrical shock.

Between 9 December 2016 and 28 December 2017, the defendant installed air-conditioning units at eight properties in Ashgrove, Wilston, Newstead, Gordon Park, Ascot, Cashmere, North Lakes and Murarrie. Electrical Safety Office inspectors subsequently examined the work done by Mr Dawes and found it did not comply with the Wiring Rules in force at the time. While the manner in which the installations did not comply with the Wiring Rules differed across the properties, there were some similar failures such as not fitting an isolation switch at four of the jobs.

In sentencing, Magistrate Noel Nunan 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 noted 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.

Magistrate Nunan took into consideration the defendant’s lack of previous convictions and maximum penalties for the offences. It was acknowledged that, due to the defendant’s absence from court, there were no submissions as to his capacity to pay a fine.

His Honour determined to record a conviction in relation to each of the 10 charges. Mr Dawes was convicted on one charge of conducting a business involving the performance of electrical work without holding an electrical contractor licence, a charge of failing to comply with electrical safety duty and that failure exposed an individual to a risk of death or serious injury and eight charges of failing to ensure that electrical work performed on an electrical installation complied with the wiring rules.

He was convicted and fined $30,000, plus professional and court costs of almost $1,100.

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