A sandalwood plantation owner has been fined $750 for unlawfully selling 19 tonnes of the protected wood without a licence.
Patrick Leo Wade, 57, pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrates Court on Tuesday to selling the wood to Mount Romance, the leading producer of Australian sandalwood, in 2011.
The court heard Wade, whose main focus is cattle, allowed the company to harvest the sandalwood from his New Norcia property and sold it to them for $24,750.
Defence lawyer Anthony Eyers said Wade didn't have a licence to harvest because Mount Romance told him he didn't need one as the plantation owner.
Mr Eyers said Wade had always husbanded his land responsibly and the laws surrounding sandalwood regulation were convoluted.
“This was a mistake of law rather than a mistake of fact,” Mr Eyers said.
Chief Magistrate Steven Heath said it seemed to be the conclusion of a frustrating case for Wade.
He said given Wade's early guilty plea to the amended charge, he was eligible for the maximum penalty discount.
The maximum penalty for unlawfully harvesting and selling sandalwood is a $4000 fine.