The case of Benjamin Mathai of Manassas, accused of clear cutting wetlands on Old Neck Road (background, see here and here) ended with a guilty plea. Mathai appeared in Northampton County court Monday following an appeal of his June conviction. Mr. Mathai was brought before the court on charges of unpermitted encroachment into Northampton County’s Resource Protection Area, use of wetlands without a permit and unpermitted land disturbing activity. Mathai pleaded guilty to the three misdemeanor charges. “It is my fault,” he told the court.
Judge W. Revell Lewis III found Mathai guilty on all three charges.
“He said the contractor cut more than he intended. There is evidence to contradict this. He had an opportunity to stop it. A person ought to know that questions should be asked to the county,” Lewis said.
On the first and second charges, Judge Lewis sentenced Mathai to 12 months and suspended all but 20 days on each and fined him $1,000 on each of the charges. On the third charge he ordered him to pay a fine of $1,000. Mathai will serve 40 days in jail and pay $3,000 in fines.