Richard Leahy fought Brisbane city council all the way to the high court – and the case could prove to be a bellwether

At the bottom of a slope leading towards the inner-city Brisbane suburb of Red Hill is a tin and timber house described, even by its owner, as a modest little cottage. It is an unlikely ground zero for a legal stoush whose outcome will shake councils around the country.

It began one day in 2020 when an electronic advertising billboard – more than 11 metres high and 42.4 sq metres in area – suddenly and unexpectedly appeared right in front of that humble home on Musgrave Road, a key thoroughfare to the CBD.

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