Tower of terror: NBN battle will cost father his home
A FATHER determined to shut down an NBN tower for fear the radiation would destroy him will lose his family's home after he was ordered to pay the telco almost $150,000.
David Evans of Peachester - 35km southwest of Caloundra - sought a Peace and Good Behaviour order to stop NBN from emitting electromagnetic radiation on his property, with claims it would cause him "agony" and effectively "shut down" his body.
Mr Evans' barrister, Raymond Broomhall, had argued in Maroochydore Magistrates Court NBN Co met the definition of a "person" and could therefore be hit with the order.
He claimed there was a "real threat" against his client that would amount to assault occasioning bodily harm.
Mr Stjernqvist rejected Mr Broomhall's claims and dismissed the civil case as an "abuse of process" and "incompetent".
He ordered Mr Evans pay NBN Co $136,000 in costs which included $80,000 for the company's legal counsel and $20,000 for expert evidence they prepared in anticipation of a hearing.
"I'll obviously lose my house," Mr Evans told the Sunshine Coast Daily as he sat on the steps of the Maroochydore courthouse.
Mr Evans said he was diagnosed with electromagnetic radiation (EMR) sensitivity after working as a high-voltage electrician for 35 years.
"I have worked with every chemical that's basically banned in Australia - PCPs, heavy solvents, for approximately 35 years," he said.
"I've worked with incredibly high levels of electromagnetic radiation from high-voltage transformers and lines and so on."
He described his condition as "agony", and said the maximum amount of painkillers did not stop the thumping headaches he experienced when exposed to EMR.
"Effectively, NBN have tried to squash me as an individual in this court case," he said, with claims NBN had "jacked up" the costs of their counter-case by producing documents and expert-evidence unrelated to him.
"I went to two doctors, they said this is real for you, which it is for me, and the threat - which the (magistrate) wouldn't accept - is effectively NBN standing over with a baseball bat ready to hit me, knowing that will hurt me," Mr Evans said.
NBN Co counsel Nathan Boyd said the case was "doomed to fail from the start", and at the first court mention in December the company had sought a stay to stop proceedings in their tracks.
The complainant insisted the matter be taken to hearing, and NBN Co prepared expert evidence to rebut Mr Evan's medical claims.
Mr Stjernqvist conceded it was a "complex" case, made more so by the complainant.
Mr Boyd said Mr Evans' court claims were mirrored in a 300-page properly-made submission to Sunshine Coast Council during the public consultation process, before council approved the tower's construction.
He said the tower was lawful under the Planning Act.
"(Mr Evans) has implied consent because he lives in the community, he uses email, he has a mobile phone."
Lead counsel for NBN, Andrew O'Brien, said they had their own peer-reviewed report about the quantum of emissions from the tower, which confirmed "there was no threat, at all, whatsoever to any residents in Peachester".
Mr O'Brien submitted the appropriate course of action would have been for Mr Evans to appeal the decision in the Planning and Environment Court.
Mr Evans vowed to appeal Mr Stjernqvist's decision.