Dance Monkey star Tones and I and her husband fined over dangerous, illegal renovation on Frankston investment property
- Tones and I and her husband charged by local council
- Charges related to work done on a Frankston property
- Husband fined $5000 and her company $20,000
- Tones and I, aka, Toni Watson did not appear in court
Aussie singer Tones and I and her husband have been fined $25,000 after carrying out illegal renovation works on an investment property.
Toni Watson (better known as Tones and I) and Jason Bedford faced a string of offences levelled at them by a Melbourne council after ignoring orders to stop renovation works on their Frankston property.
The Dance Monkey star allowed her husband to take the fall on Monday, with Bedford fronting Frankston Magistrates’ Court without his famous wife.
Toni Watson (better known as Tones and I) and Jason Bedford were fined after admitting to having building work done at their Frankston property without the correct permits (couple pictured together)
The couple failed to obtain permits to demolish an internal wall and build a deck and porch as well as failing to comply with building orders.
The property was purchased by Watson’s company Johnny Run Away – named after Tones and I’s debut single – which left it open to a $225,000 fine.
In handing down his decision, Magistrate Charles Tan ordered Bedford be personally fined $5000 and the company $20,000.
The 31 year old had been employed as a sound engineer by the very same council that prosecuted him.
Bedford pleaded guilty to failing to obtain permits to demolish an internal wall and build a deck and porch as well as failing to comply with building orders.
Frankston City Council prosecutor Bruce Gardiner was scathing of Bedford’s disregard of the law, accusing the couple of placing a tenant at risk for up to 12 months.
The court heard Bedford had operated his own bricklaying company for years and ought have known better than to ignore obtaining the required permits for the renovation.
‘To suggest that the accused had no knowledge of building permits and the like, he said during the interview that he owned a bricklaying company for 10 years and I submit that one cannot possible own a bricklaying company for 10 years and be engaged in building and be unaware of the requirements when taking walls out of the inside of houses,’ Mr Gardiner said.
The prosecutor further claimed the offences were aggravated by the fact works proceeded on the property even after the council ordered them to stop.
‘The accused were found to be in breach of the legislation and were ordered to stop work for safety reasons and they continued to work and they put a tenant inside the house for a period of 12 months and that grossly aggravates the offending,’ Mr Gardiner said.
The council had called for a ‘substantial fine’, particularly for Watson’s company.
Tones and I rose to stardom off the back of her record-breaking song Dance Monkey which catapulted her to stardom
While the couple’s barrister Sam Bird argued the company ‘wasn’t trading’, Mr Gardiner said the council was aware it had in fact purchased another property in the area valued at $1.35million.
The court heard Bedford claimed he had been ‘too busy’ to deal with obtaining the required permits.
Mr Gardiner said Bedford told investigators his wife owned the property and it was she who had given permission for him to undertake the renovation works.
‘He stated: “Between us we renovated the house”,’ he said.
Records show the property was purchased by the company for $720,000 in late 2020.
The site included a three-bedroom house and a one-bedroom bungalow.
Mr Bird told the court the illegal works were ultimately found to be compliant with council regulations – a claim refuted by the council.
‘I object to that your honour,’ Mr Gardiner said.
‘To suggest that the works hadn’t been found structurally inadequate is against the surveyor’s report that I read from during the summary and it says that existing internal load bearing walls were removed and the existing deck and verandah framing appeared to be structurally inadequate.’
In sentencing, Mr Tan said he took into account Bedford’s previous good character, lack of prior convictions and requirement to work overseas without a conviction.
Tones and I rose to fame from humble beginnings, starting her career busking while living out of a van.
Her debut single Johnny Run Away was a hit and on the back of that success Dance Monkey broke records and catapulted her to stardom.