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Unpaid fine converted to jail time a decade after illegal electrical work

Thursday 30 March 2023 at 10:29 pm

A Melbourne man has been sentenced to 117 days in jail for failing to pay a $20,000 fine issued in 2011 after Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) found his unregistered company had been carrying out electrical works and employing unlicensed workers.

Richard Tovey received the $20,000 fine following court proceedings almost 12 years ago after he was found guilty of four offences committed under the Electricity Safety Act 1998.

ESV initially brought charges against Mr Tovey, as director of Worldwide Heating and Air-conditioning, for electrical installation works carried out between February and March 2010.

He was found guilty, convicted and fined for offences based on the fact that Worldwide Heating and Cooling was an unregistered electrical contractor and had hired unlicensed electrical workers.

The fine was not paid, and on on Thursday, 16 March, the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court imposed the jail term.

“ESV is focused on catching those who think they can carry out electrical work without being licensed and registered,” ESV CEO Leanne Hughson said.

“We will not hesitate to bring the full force of the law to bear where we find people doing the wrong thing and putting the community and householders at risk.

“Electrical workers need to have met all licensing requirements to carry out electrical work. This ensures the safety of themselves, their workers and the community.”

Ms Hughson said that fines were an important enforcement tool to ensure energy safety throughout Victoria.

Mr Tovey has already served the 117-day prison sentence concurrently with time served following convictions for other criminal matters.

While ESV can bring proceedings in relation to Electricity Safety Act 1998, Fines Victoria is the agency responsible for the collection and management of court-imposed fines.

For more information on ESV’s powers as a regulator go to www.esv.vic.gov.au.

Media contact: Adrian Bernecich 0437 729 194