Blackwell found guilty over mystery ute

A Helensburgh father failed to disclose the identity of the driver responsible for dumping a trailer-load of asbestos in Wollongong councillor Greg Petty's driveway, a court has heard.

Brett John Blackwell was found guilty in Wollongong Local Court yesterday of not naming the person behind the wheel of the ute, which was recorded making the illegal drop at Cr Petty's Helensburgh home on April 4.

Blackwell, who had pleaded not guilty to the traffic violation, yesterday strenuously denied any involvement in the illicit dumping.

He told the court he was in Sydney on the night of the incident and claimed the ute, which was owned by his 92-year-old grandmother Mary Bozzo, was simply not at the scene.

"I definitely wasn't driving [the ute]; I wasn't around Helensburgh," he said.

"I was nowhere near the alleged offence.

"I don't know Cr Petty and I definitely didn't do what he's talking about."

The 47-year-old claimed rumours had quickly spread through the close-knit Helensburgh community that disgruntled contractors were to blame for the dumping, returning the material when Cr Petty allegedly failed to pay them for their work.

Fining Blackwell $1200, Magistrate Les Mabbutt said the man had not provided police with the name and address of the person driving the vehicle, despite being nominated by his grandmother as the "custodian" of the ute.

Ms Bozzo told police Blackwell regularly used the vehicle but said she didn't have a clue who had driven it on the night of the dumping.

She admitted several people had access to the ute and the keys were always left inside for people to take it as they pleased.

Ms Bozzo conceded Blackwell spent a lot of time in Queensland and said she wasn't sure if he was in Helensburgh at the time of the incident.

Blackwell said he had told police several people, including his children, used the ute and he did not consider himself the "custodian" of the vehicle except when he was driving it.

Mr Mabbutt told the court there was "simply overwhelming" evidence that the ute was the same vehicle as pictured in the CCTV footage, citing its distinctive stickers and writing.

Cr Petty said he was relieved at the outcome.

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