Naughty neighbour told 'nobody died and made you sheriff'
A MAN warring with his 60-year-old neighbour over two cedar trees took matters into his own hands and cut them down.
John Costigan, 67, pleaded guilty in the Mackay Magistrates Court yesterday to one charge of wilful damage.
Prosecutor Sheena Hayes told the court that on November 9 Costigan's neighbour went to the police with the complaint that two trees had been cut down and dragged from his property.
She said the neighbour told police the trees were worth about $80,000 each.
But she said an estimated value placed the trees at about $5000 each.
The neighbour believed Costigan was using the trees for wood, she said.
Ms Hayes said Costigan told police the trees were hanging over the boundary of his property and he was concerned they would fall onto his shed.
Defence solicitor Nicole Cullen said her client had no criminal history and worked parttime. Ms Cullen said the trees had a lot of rot in the trunks.
She said Costigan had asked his neighbour a few times to remove the trees, but that the neighbour had failed to do so.
During Cyclone Yasi five trees fell onto Costigan's yard from his neighbour's property, she said.
Magistrate Damien Dwyer warned Costigan not to take the law into his own hands.
"Nobody died and made you sheriff," Mr Dwyer said.
He said the fact that the trees hadn't fallen over during Cyclone Yasi meant they were probably fairly safe.
Mr Dywer fined Costigan $1000. No restitution was sought for the trees.