Russell Gordon Haig Mathews with his dog Pyosik and supporter Robert Cronin at Ipswich Court in 2019. Picture: Ross Irby
Russell Gordon Haig Mathews with his dog Pyosik and supporter Robert Cronin at Ipswich Court in 2019. Picture: Ross Irby

Illegal sign writer hit with $30,000 in fines

A POLITICAL protest sign writer has been hit with a whopping $30,500 fine after a court heard he erected illegal structures in his Ipswich front yard.

Russell Mathews has gained notoriety for his political commentary in recent years, which he has proudly displayed on large signs in front of his home on Brisbane Rd at Booval.

Ipswich City Council took legal action against Mathews in 2019 over the unapproved structures used to display the political slogans.

A Court Order was issued on July 26, 2019 ordering the removal of the signs and giving council authority to enter the property and remove the signs, however the owner removed the signs and sign structures prior to the expiry of the Court Order.

The signs were subsequently re-erected shortly after their removal and council commenced further enforcement action for their removal and for unlawful shipping containers located at the rear of the property.

 

Political signs erected in front of the home of Russell Gordon Haig Mathews in 2019. Mathews was this month fined more than $30,000.
Political signs erected in front of the home of Russell Gordon Haig Mathews in 2019. Mathews was this month fined more than $30,000.

 

The legal issues over the structures were settled this month when the 70-year old was fined.

Mathews was also ordered to remove the signs and associated structures and either remove the shipping containers or obtain necessary approval for them.

Despite not attending the court himself, the three council charges against Mathews were dealt with ex-parte by Magistrate Elizabeth Hall on January 7.

Russell Gordon Haig Mathews, from Booval, was found guilty of contravening an enforcement notice under the ICC planning act on June 28, 2019; failing to comply with a compliance notice on November 4, 2019; and contravening an enforcement notice on January 3, 2020.

Ms Hall fined Mathews $10,000 for the first charge, $500 for the second charge; and $20,000 for the third charge.

He was also ordered to pay costs.