Serial offenders have pleaded guilty to unlawfully demonstrating at a $21 billion mining development in Central Queensland.
Clermont Magistrate’s Court found unemployed fitter Reuben Anstee and caravan resident Amy Booth both guilty of trespassing, damaging equipment and contravening a police direction while protesting against Adani Australia’s Carmichael Coal Project, 160km northwest of Clermont.
The Queensland Police Service alleged the pair climbed two poles at the mine site without permission on 7 August 2019. The position they took prevented nearby equipment from being used, bringing an alleged $12,748 in losses to the proponent.
Jeopardised safety of all
Magistrate Robert Walker slammed Anstee, 28, and Booth, 25, for disrupting the mine from conducting its ordinary business, and jeopardising the safety of themselves and others trying to free them. The judge ruled the pair’s actions were unlawful and not simply exercising the right to protest, something they could easily do in the city instead of a remote mining community.
The court also heard Booth was understood to be a spokesperson for anti-mining group Frontline Action on Coal, and News Limited had previously photographed her interrupting and being removed from last October’s International Mining and Resources Conference at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The group used social media to encourage more anti-coal activists to protest against the project.
“We are now asking you to head to Central Queensland to take part in direct action like these two, and blockade Adani,” a Frontline Action on Coal spokesperson said on Facebook. “Head to frontlineaction.org/redalert and be a part of the movement to stop Adani for climate justice.”
Further prosecution likely
Police had wanted the pair to receive a suspended jail or probation sentence but in the end Walker decided the pair should each pay $1500 instead because they did not have any paid work. The pair’s application to be released from further civil proceedings was rejected and no conviction was recorded.
Adani hopes to fully prosecute the pair according to law.
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“We are now considering our legal options to recover the costs associated with this dangerous and illegal activity,” the company said in a public statement. “We are also considering whether to pursue this matter further with the Mines Inspectorate and the Industrial Court of Queensland, as we will not compromise on safety or permit illegal activity on our mine lease.”