This is crackers: Cockatoo cleared in bizarre lawsuit
A pet cockatoo at the centre of a bitter neighbourhood dispute because of its screeching has been cleared of wrongdoing, in a case described by an Adelaide judge as "completely unjustified".
The dispute was settled in the District Court this week, after a woman's decision to take the family next door to court backfired.
She had lived in her northern suburbs rental property for a few months when she earlier this year asked a magistrate to award her damages because her neighbours were causing a nuisance.
In the claim, she said the family's cockatoo screeches, their dogs bark "day and night", their young children play outside and "often scream as loud as they can" and the man whistles while he mows the lawn.
Investigations by the City of Prospect council disproved the allegations, including a report that found the noise generated by the cockatoo was not excessive and there was no cause for complaint.
The family, however, lodged a counterclaim, alleging the woman harassed them by needlessly calling the police to their property 15 times in five months, including six times because of "loud talking on Christmas Day".
They described their experience with her as "a nightmare" and said they installed security cameras and fences in an effort to keep the woman off their property.
A magistrate in July dismissed the woman's nuisance claim but awarded the family more than $11,000 in damages for the harassment they had suffered.
The woman appealed that ruling, and Judge Patrick O'Sullivan this week reversed the decision and ordered that neither party should be paid damages.
In his judgment, he said the woman's claim was "completely unjustified" and her complaints amounted to "no more than the ordinary activities of a young family living in a suburban environment".
"For reasons unknown, in my view, the (woman) has set about a campaign against (the family) in relation to any noise emanating from their property," Judge O'Sullivan said.
"I have no doubt that (the family) have been subjected to behaviour on the part of (the woman) which has had a significant impact on their lives."
But he said while the woman's harassment had been relentless, her making complaints to the council and police did not constitute a nuisance worthy of damages.