Climate activist in appeal over tripod stunt
An anti-Adani protester who sat on a tripod structure above a Queensland railway line claims he was not given a fair hearing before he was convicted of three offences last year.
Greg Rolles, who was convicted and fined, had defended the charges over his protest, on the basis of his belief that climate change presented a sudden or extraordinary emergency.But counsel for Queensland Police Service Mike Nicolson told an appeal hearing there was no legal basis for the defence.
"This is simply a protester trying to make a name by protesting against Adani and a coalmine,'' Mr Nicolson said.
Bowen magistrate Ron Muirhead in May last year found Rolles, a former Victorian geography teacher, guilty of interfering with and trespassing on a Bowen Basin railway line in November 2018.
He also was found guilty of failing to comply with a police direction to remove himself from the railway line.
Rolles - who sat on top of a tripod structure he had erected in a protest to stop coal trains getting to the Adani-owned Abbot Point terminal - was fined a total of $7000.
He also was ordered to pay rail freight company Aurizon $2233 restitution.
Rolles' barrister Kylie Hillard asked Brisbane District Court judge Ray Rinaudo to quash his convictions and order a new magistrates court hearing of the charges.
Ms Hillard, argued that Rolles, who represented himself in the Magistrates Court, was denied procedural fairness or a fair hearing or the ability to develop his case.
He was denied the opportunity to call an environmental scientist to give evidence on the impact of climate change and the rise in temperatures, particularly in the Bowen area.
During the appeal hearing, Judge Rinaudo viewed video footage from a police officer's body-worn camera, on the day of the protest.
The officer repeatedly told Rolles he was trespassing on the railway and directed him to immediately move off the line, before he was arrested and charged.
Rolles could be heard saying his life was under threat from global warming and he had to take direct action to defend himself.
Mr Nicolson said Rolles said during the tripod protest that he wanted people from Adani arrested, and he said that seemed to be the modus behind his protest.
The Bowen magistrate last year found Rolles had not met the necessary test for the "sudden or extraordinary emergency'' defence.
"The defendant was not required to act immediately in response to being confronted with a sudden or immediate emergency or state of danger,'' Mr Muirhead said.
"The defendant's own evidence was that he has held personal beliefs on the dangers of climate change for a number of years."
On the appeal against sentence, Ms Hillard said Rolles should be fined only $3000 and not made to pay any restitution.
Mr Nicolson said Rolles should pay $3200, including the restitution.
Judge Rinaudo has reserved his decision on Rolles' appeal.
Originally published as Climate activist in appeal over tripod stunt