Petersen is found guilty of illegal sign usage

SERIAL political candidate Patricia Petersen has been found guilty of illegally erecting election signs and fined $1650 but will appeal the decision.

The decision was handed down in Ipswich Magistrates Court on Wednesday in relation to signs Ms Petersen erected during the 2012 state election campaign when she was running as an independent for the seat of Ipswich.

Ms Petersen was found guilty of three of the four charges brought against her by Ipswich City Council.

Ms Petersen was represented by a barrister and instructing solicitor who vigorously defended the prosecution.

GUILTY: Patricia Petersen outside Ipswich Courthouse, where she was fined $1650 for illegal sign use at the 2012 state election.
GUILTY: Patricia Petersen outside Ipswich Courthouse, where she was fined $1650 for illegal sign use at the 2012 state election. FILE

Council was awarded $1500 in professional costs.

The fourth charge had to be withdrawn on a technicality.

Ms Petersen had faced fines of up to $25,000 for the offences.

Ms Petersen had previously been vocal in the QT about her innocence, telling this newspaper back in November that "the charges are pathetic and the case is a complete waste of time and ratepayers' money".

Back on November 10, 2014 Ms Petersen said she was confident she could prove she was innocent and challenged Ipswich City Council to "give it their best shot".

They did, and they won.

Ms Petersen said she would appeal.

"Ipswich City Council refused to hand over highly relevant right to information documents," she said.

"Ipswich City Council is being investigated by the Office of the Information Commissioner.

"When I receive those documents we will be launching an appeal.

"I can't comment any further on the matter."

A council spokesperson said "the court outcome does vindicate our stance".

"Our local laws relating to election signs are not onerous. They are simple and easy to understand and afford everyone a fair and equal opportunity."

Ms Petersen has been a controversial character in the Ipswich political sphere for years.

During the last state election campaign alone she called for the chemical castration of sex offenders and the return of the cane in public schools.

Ms Petersen took a sheep down the mall to encourage voters not to be blind followers and wore a bikini at pre-polls on Australia Day.

While she continually won online polls during the election, that popularity did not translate to the ballot box.

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