Joseph Padraic O’Shaughnessy, 20, pleaded guilty to one count of trespassing on prohibited Commonwealth Land in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on October 12. Picture: Contributed
Joseph Padraic O’Shaughnessy, 20, pleaded guilty to one count of trespassing on prohibited Commonwealth Land in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on October 12. Picture: Contributed

How photos from helicopter led police to illegal campers

A CAMPING trip with mates has landed an apprentice electrician before court after a group of people were caught trespassing on prohibited Commonwealth Land.

Joseph Padraic O’Shaughnessy, 20, pleaded guilty to the trespassing charge in Rockhampton Magistrates Court yesterday.

Police prosecutor Jess King said a senior compliance officer from the field management unit of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority was conducting patrols on board a charted helicopter about 8.10am on April 12 when they saw several vehicles and people within the boundaries of the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area.

Ms King said the vehicles were seen in an area commonly known as The Three Rivers.

She said the officer took photos of the vehicles and people, who immediately took action to avoid identification by covering and removing number plates.

The court heard one of the vehicles identified was a Toyota Hilux which was registered to O’Shaughnessy.

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Ms King said O’Shaughnessy was stopped by police on the Bruce Hwy in Ambrose on September 4 for another matter.

She said police saw the vehicle was identical to that of the pictures from April 12, which depicted O’Shaughnessy standing next to the vehicle.

She said O’Shaughnessy told police he recalled going to the camping area inside the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area and was aware the area was prohibited from members of the public.

She said O’Shaughnessy had no criminal history.

O’Shaughnessy’s lawyer Felicity Davis argued the trespass was “somewhat trivial” as it was an existing and old campground her client had gone to.

“There were still camping facilities there from when it used to be a camp site,” Ms Davis said.

O’Shaughnessy received a Good Behaviour Bond of six months with $400 recognisance and no criminal conviction recorded.



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