Selwyn farmer sentenced to community service after cattle accessed drains

Lawton Thomas Giltrap was sentenced to 55 hours of community service. PHOTO: DANIEL ALVEY
Lawton Thomas Giltrap was sentenced to 55 hours of community service. PHOTO: DANIEL ALVEY
A Canterbury farmer has been sentenced to 55 hours of community service for allowing his cattle access to farm drains, which may have resulted in contamination of waterways downstream.

Springston South farmer Lawton Thomas Giltrap appeared in the Christchurch District Court in front of Environment Court Judge Kelvin Reid.

Due to his guilty plea, his sentence was reduced by 20 per cent from 70 hours of community service. 

Giltrap pleaded guilty in February to two charges laid by Environment Canterbury under the Resource Management Act concerning his 18ha farm.

He has about 50-60 cows on the property.

The first charge was for using land in a manner that contravened the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan.

Giltrap had allowed stock unrestricted access to farm drains on his Curries Rd property resulting in pugging, devegetation and exposed bare earth in the bed.

The second charge was for permitting the discharge of dairy effluent from a cow onto land which may have resulted in that contaminant entering the water downstream into the L II River and subsequently Te Wahiora Lake Ellesmere.

Both offences were observed by ECan officers in February 2022.

Giltrap was convicted of a similar offence in 2021 for allowing stock access to a waterway at a block he was leasing near Halswell. In that case, he was sentenced to 45 hours of community service.

When sentencing, Judge Reid described Giltrap’s offending as moderate, and deliberate. 

He said there was an “element of belligerence” by Giltrap, given this was the second offence of this type, and he had been repeatedly warned by ECan officers.

“The concerning part of this offence is there had been 11 notices of enforcement,” Judge Reid said.

Giltrap’s lawyer Tony Garrett said he was “ a man who has gone above and beyond to serve others’’.

Garrett said since the offence was first reported in 2022, Giltrap has installed suitable electric fencing and water troughs for stock.

Garrett said Giltrap would not be able to pay the fine due to his sole form of income, Giltrap Spares Ltd, being in the process of shutting down.

Giltrap Spares Ltd is subject to an ongoing Selwyn District Council investigation after an abatement notice was issued for breaching the Selwyn District Plan.

The district council refused to provide Selwyn Times with a copy of the abatement notice or provide specific details about why it was served due to it being an ongoing investigation.

Judge Reid said he hoped this meant a change in character by Giltrap.

“I hope you have turned a corner,” he said.