Rea to fight $80,000 claim
ALLEN ‘Stinger’ Rea emerged from court today and said he was determined to fight an $80,000 claim for compensation.
Magistrate John McGrath rejected his legal challenge to the Rockhampton Regional Council’s prosecution which alleges the old soldier caused extensive damage when he graded a 14km section of Stanage Bay Rd.
The matter was adjourned until August 10.
Mr Rea has already entered not guilty pleas to trespass and unauthorised work charges brought by the council.
And outside court yesterday he revealed he had offered to reach an out-of-court settlement with the council to end the protracted and costly court battle.
“The council won’t negotiate,” he said. “I have offered to give them some gravel – I have a pit they have used regularly in the past – but they won’t talk to me or my lawyer.
“They are absolutely determined to show this country bumpkin a thing or two.”
It is the council’s case that when Mr Rea used his own money and machinery to repair the badly rutted and potholed road, he caused $80,000 worth of damage by spilling gravel off the road surface and into long grass from where it could not be recovered.
The council yesterday denied that it was seeking full damages and issued a statement claiming there were numerous attempts to resolve the matter prior to court proceedings.
Mr Rea maintains his actions improved the road.
“When a council crew next came to grade Stanage Bay Road it did not even touch the section where I had worked. That shows that the workmen could see I had done a good job.”
One of Mr Rea’s supporters is Glenda Mather, his local councillor.
Yesterday she expressed her disappointment and frustration that the prosecution was continuing despite the mounting costs.
“There’s a real opportunity to negotiate this matter to the satisfaction of both parties. Mr Rea has made an offer but when I put it to the table to bring the court action to an end I couldn’t even get a seconder.
“As this proceeds the legal costs mount and there will be evidence presented that the council might not be prepared for,” she said.