AN NBN contractor who repeatedly cut copper cabling, causing multiple internet outages, has faced court.
Rhett Russell has pleaded guilty to four counts of criminal damage after attending Wodonga sites between June and August 2019, and damaging wiring.
The Wodonga Magistrates Court on Tuesday heard the 52-year-old was subcontracted by Tandem to undertake work for Telstra, with technicians using keys to access pillars housing the technology.
Notifications were made when Russell accessed the sites.
He accessed a site on Hartwig Road on June 28 and cut cabling, which in turn disrupted 10 services, before logging off.
Another technician attended and saw the copper cables had been snipped.
He was sent to a service fault at an Awburn Street pillar on July 22 and again cut several copper cables.
Russell ceased receiving work orders pending an investigation into other matters, but targeted an Emerald Avenue site on August 5, which again disrupted services.
A significant disruption to services was detected on August 16 after Russell cut cables at a pillar on Serpentine Avenue.
Despite being banned from work, he twice called up an NBN control centre to ask about the damage.
His job was officially terminated on August 21 but he refused to hand back his keys and other equipment to the company.
He was arrested and denied the allegations, but admitted he was caught on CCTV in Awburn Street.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Chirag Patel said his client claimed the damage was unintentional and caused by careless work practices, which magistrate Ian Watkins was concerned by.
"Careless?" he asked.
"The copper wires have been cut, how's that careless?"
Mr Patel said he had cut more wires than needed and had called his supervisor to report the damage.
Sergeant Penny Lawler said there was nothing in the brief of evidence to suggest that had occurred.
"They understood it was a deliberate act, not an accident," she said of NBN investigators.
The matter was adjourned to December 7 for further enquiries to be made.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: