18 Jun BPEQ v V
This case was a prosecution by the Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland (Board) against an unregistered person (de-identified as V) in the Magistrates Court of Queensland (Court).
The charge against V was that V used the title ‘Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland’ (RPEQ) despite not being registered as a RPEQ at the time.
V had been registered as a RPEQ for a significant time but V’s application for the renewal of V’s registration was refused by the Board in 2011, and so subsequently expired.
Therefore V was not registered as a RPEQ at the time V undertook the work in respect of which the complaint was made.
Conduct of V
V subsequently prepared a report which contained the findings of his inspection of the patio structure at the property. V signed the report using the title ‘RPEQ’ and quoting V’s former RPEQ number. V was not a RPEQ at the time that V prepared and signed the report.
V sent an email to the Court registry the evening before the hearing admitting that V had used the title ‘RPEQ’ when not registered as a RPEQ, but maintained that a technical error had resulted in the title being used in the report.
V sent an email to the Court registry the evening before the hearing admitting that V had used the title “RPEQ” when not registered as a registered professional engineer, but maintained that a technical error had resulted in the title being used in the report.
What the Court Said
The Court accepted V’s admission of guilt, and was satisfied that V had used the title of RPEQ when not registered as a RPEQ. In determining the appropriate penalty, the Court took into account a number of factors, including:
- that V was previously involved in disciplinary proceedings under the Professional Engineers Act 2002, and was penalised three times for unsatisfactory professional conduct;
- the need to protect the public by ensuring professional engineering services are provided by RPEQs in a competent way, and to maintain public confidence in the integrity of the registration system; and
- the impact any penalty would have on V’s economic and social well being, given that V is over 60 years old, bankrupt and an unregistered engineer.
Consequences for V
Taking the above factors into consideration, the Court found V guilty of the offence, ordered that V pay a monetary penalty and the Board’s costs penalty of $5,000.00 to the Board, but did not record a conviction.