One of the state’s worst serial asbestos dumpers has continued to illegally dispose of hundreds of tonnes of deadly contaminated waste across Sydney after narrowly avoiding jail.
Already owing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, Dib Hanna has failed to appear in court as the environmental regulator pursues him over eight fresh offences.
But now he appears to have set up shop in Melbourne, advertising cheap excavation and tipping under a new name, “David from Delta Civil Group Vic”.
When Fairfax Media contacted “David”, he at first denied being Dib Hanna, then thought again. “Alright, I’m Dib Hanna,” he admitted.
He denied having anything to do with asbestos. But court and public database records show he has a long track record of illegal dumping, an offence NSW authorities have found hard to prosecute.
Hanna pleaded guilty to dumping 80 tonnes of asbestos-laced material on vacant land he broke into near Picnic Point in Sydney’s south-west in 2012.
“The asbestos had the potential to be blown by the wind into the air causing potential harm to the health of nearby residents who might breathe it in,” Chief Justice of the Land and Environment Court, Brian Preston, found.
The excavator and demolition contractor was at the time paying off more than $200,000 in fines at a rate of $300 a month until 2072, having committed more than a dozen other offences.
He was given a three-month suspended jail sentence in 2013 and then ordered to pay another $225,000 for the Picnic Point offences in a civil case in 2014.
“I am also very sorry for any harm I did [sic] for anyone either intentionally or unintentionally,” he said in court. His wife, Rebecca, testified that he was ashamed and remorseful.
But in 2015 Hanna was at it again, on a larger scale.
The Environmental Protection Authority found that in December 2015 he had ditched 150 tonnes of waste near a home on Seventh Avenue in Llandilo, near Penrith. He was ordered in February last year to clean up the site, but six months later the waste was still there.
The EPA found Hanna had dumped at least another 750 tonnes of asbestos-contaminated waste at properties in nearby Wallacia, Cranebrook and East Kurrajong, some vacant, others occupied.
A property owner, who did not wish to be named, said she had responded to a flyer Hanna left in her letterbox advertising free top soil. Instead, she was left with waste that contained small shards of asbestos.
The EPA said it could not comment on Hanna’s case now that it was pursuing him for eight “repeat waste” offences, which carry a maximum penalty of $250,000 in fines, two years’ jail or both.
But the authority said Hanna has failed to appear in court three times so far. That may be because he is plying his trade in Melbourne.
Property records show the Hanna family sold their home at Colyton in Sydney’s west last August and bought in the Melbourne suburb of Melton West in September.
In Sydney, Hanna had operated a company registered by his wife in the name New Line Demolition, Excavation and Tipper Hire. Ms Hanna registered a company with an nearly identical name in Victoria in December last year.
The new Melbourne business trades as Delta Civil Group Vic. In one local advertisement for the group “David” promised competitive rates for excavation and and tipping across Melbourne.
“I’m not working with the asbestos,” he told The Sun-Herald, after admitting he was Hanna. “I’m a truck driver.” Further questions were met with shouts of “f— off”.
Facebook photos show Hanna, going by the online name Deeb H Serhan, posing next to a 2007 Range Rover he bought for his wife as a birthday present. The vehicle was then registered as a work car for Delta Civil Group VIc. There is no connection to the national company Delta Group.
He is next due to appear before court in NSW on June 13.
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