Adani protesters plan to argue against restitution
TWO anti-Adani protesters who tied a platform they were on to drilling rig towers at Mt Coolum will now have to go to a hearing after their solicitor argued against them paying restitution.
Gabriel Asha Macs-Martin, 19, and Noah Alexander Neate, 22, pleaded guilty in two separate appearances in Bowen Magistrates Court on Tuesday to trespassing by entering or remaining in a place of business, unregulated high-risk activities, wilful damage and contravening a direction by police.
The charges relate to a protest by the pair on September 25 at Mt Coolum at the Glen Avon Holding where exploratory drilling was taking place for the Adani railway.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Emma Myors told the court drill contractors and soil geologists found the pair on platforms 10m up in trees when they arrived for work at 8am.
They were also tied to two drilling rig towers, rendering them inoperable, Sgt Myors said.
The court heard the pair would have had to climb the drill rigs to tie the ropes to the top of them.
An emergency stop button on one of the drill rigs was damaged by someone standing on it to get to the top of the rig, Sgt Myors said.
When police arrived, they ordered the pair to come down from the platform, but they refused.
Instead, special units from Cairns had to be deployed to get them down, Sgt Myors said.
The prosecution asked for restitution for the five specialist police officers from Cairns who had to go to Mt Coolum to bring down the pair.
The officers also had to stay overnight because of the distance involved.
Sgt Myors asked for thousands of dollars in restitution for work hours for the police, vehicle costs to get there, costs to the company who could not work at the site, as well replacement parts for the drill rig that was damaged.
She asked that Neate and Macs-Martin, who are both from the Melbourne suburb of Croydon, each pay half of the restitution.
"There are lawful methods of conveying their message. They have chosen to use unlawful methods," Sgt Myors said.
Neate and Macs-Martin's solicitor Sue Higginson, however, argued a point of law that the claim for restitution was not being made correctly under law.
"The provision is about providing more a victims-type restitution for victims," Ms Higginson said.
She argued it was not one that could be used by police to claim restitution.
Instead, she said anyone who had losses or damages could make a claim under civil law.
Magistrate James Morton ruled that both men's cases go to a hearing on December 4, which would focus on legal arguments from both sides about restitution.