A company that exported timber from north west Queensland to Asia without following fumigation or inspection processes has been handed fines totalling more than $300,000.
Leonard Properties Pty Ltd and its director Bradley James Leonard were sentenced in the District Court at Brisbane on October 25 over the offences, which date from between 2009 and 2013.
Leonard Properties pleaded guilty to 32 counts of exporting of prescribed goods contrary to the Export Control Act 1982 and one count of conveying prescribed goods with intent to export contrary to the act.
Bradley James Leonard pleaded guilty to 22 counts of exporting of prescribed goods contrary to the Export Control Act 1982 and one count of conveying prescribed goods with intent to export contrary to the act.
The timber, predominantly sandalwood, came from properties near Cloncurry, Winton, Richmond and Hughenden and was exported to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
It was debarked and transported to Townsville and either exported through the Port of Townsville or from Brisbane after being transported there by rail.
The court heard that on the occasions concerned, the fumigation and inspection processes required for quarantine purposes were not undertaken.
Charges were laid after Australian Border Force executed a search warrant on a cargo container at the Port of Townsville in 2013.
The container had been delivered to the port from Richmond to be shipped to China and during the search investigators found sandalwood logs contaminated with grass, soil, spiders and lizards.
The container had not been certified for export.
Leonard Properties was fined a total of $335,000, while Bradley James Leonard was fined a total of $25,000.
The court heard that Bradley Leonard's father, Ronald Leonard was a director from August 1995 until February 2011, while Bradley was a director from August 1995 until January 2009 and again from June 2010 until the present.
Defence solicitor Glen Rice QC submitted that Mr Leonard Senior, who was originally charged but had his charges discontinued due to ill health, knew he had not complied with the law but had tried to avoid costs.
Mr Rice stressed that Bradley Leonard was not privy to his father's decision to not comply with certification and was based in western Queensland to liaise with harvesters and forestry officials, whereas the business was administered from Mr Leonard Senior's Chermside West address.