Anti-coal protestor who blocked train was not ‘sane’ says judge

In Earthmoving Machinery, Health & Safety, In The Community, Infrastructure & Operations, Latest News, Transport & Logistics
Aurizon train carrying coal

A judge has questioned the mental health of a teenage anti-mining activist who allegedly stepped in front of a moving train in metropolitan Queensland on April 18.

Brisbane magistrate Walt Ehrich could not understand why Jaxom Kerlin, 18, blocked an Aurizon coal train for five hours in the River City, causing delays, cancellations and losses to the freight company totalling $1.3 million.

“This sort of behaviour doesn’t sound like a person who is quite sane,” Ehrich told the court before granting Kerlin bail on April 20, the Australian Associated Press reported.

Queensland Police prosecutor senior sergeant Bill Heasley revealed the protest against climate change delayed up five coal trains that were due to arrive at the Port of Brisbane by up to 14 hours, costing the company $90,000 an hour. A further three trains had to be cancelled.

“It would appear the behaviour is motivated by a certain ideology — concern for the environment,” Heasley said in court.

Kerlin faces a string of charges including obstructing a railway, trespassing and obstructing police throughout the protest. A condition of his bail is not to engage in any protests and reporting to police twice a week.

His protest began at about 2.30pm when multiple activists stepped onto the tracks near the port at Wynnum. The train driver had to apply the emergency brakes to stop the moving train from hitting the group. Kerlin then allegedly climbed onto the train.

Kerlin is due to reappear in the same court on May 1.

Another activist is separately due to face Wynnum Magistrate’s Court on May 7 after holding a different protest against coal mining in Wynnum.

The woman has also been charged with obstructing the railway, trespass and obstructing police this time for chaining herself to a concrete-filled 44-gallon drum that was placed on the same railway line at about 2am on April 19.

The woman surrendered to police five hours later. Queensland Ambulance then took the woman to the Princess Alexandra Hospital to be treated for hypothermia.

The resources industry recently criticised the hypocrisy of anti-mining protestors in Brisbane for using coal to power their convoy.


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