Newsreader helps to rumble illegal works

Presenter and broadcaster George Donikian’s unflappable demeanour picked up bad vibrations inside his two-storey townhouse in Port Melbourne one July morning last year.

Startled by the noise and rumblings, Mr Donikian recorded the scene on his mobile phone as demolition work at a nearby construction site rocked his house.

The fallout deposited him on Tuesday in Melbourne Magistrates Court to appear as a witness for the City of Port Philip in the prosecution of the company responsible.

He told investigators his wife had become ”very agitated” but she managed to save a decanter before it ”vibrated off the bench”.

But he and other neighbours, with a bevy of expert witnesses – building surveyors and structural engineers – were not required as the planned three-day contested hearing was resolved.

The defendant company AAA Australian Demolition and Excavations Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to one charge of conducting building work without a permit.

Prosecutor Philip Hayes said in a tendered summary the Pearcedale company was engaged by an agent of the owners of two properties.

Mr Hayes said after council received ”numerous complaints” on July 11 about ”substantial noise and vibrations” through neighbouring properties it was found the demolition permits did not include fill and compaction works.

Defence barrister David Starvaggi said the company’s director Malcolm Robinson had acted ”to his detriment” on the instructions of an engineer, but conceded that ignorance of the law was not an excuse. Mr Starvaggi said the company had operated without blemish for 25 years.

The agreement to pay $22,000 costs ”attested to contrition by a corporate accused”, he added.

Magistrate Ross Maxted reminded Mr Robinson and others of the impact of such an ”unnecessary public nuisance”.

The company was released on a six-month bond.

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