Magistrate dismisses and records no conviction for Greens MP over coal mine trespass

MEDIA RELEASE – 14 March 2015

Today at the Downing Centre Local Court Magistrate Kennedy ordered that the charge of trespass be dismissed under Section 10, without recording a conviction or issuing a fine, after Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham pleaded guilty to an offense of Enter Inclosed Lands not prescribed premises without lawful excuse.  The ‘inclosed lands’ was on the edge of the Rio Tinto Mt Thorley Warkworth coal mine in the Hunter Valley, where he recorded a short video and took photos to highlight the destruction caused by open cut coal mining.

“Justice! I’m very pleased that the Magistrate recorded no conviction and issued no fine. I maintain that visibly showing just how destructive coal mining is in the public interest and is an important part of my role as an MP,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Rio Tinto clearly wanted to intimidate me, but it will not work.  I’ve had tremendous support from the public, particularly those who follow my Facebook page where I share a lot of this information.

“The mines hide the environmental destruction behind trees lines and rock walls, so it is important that the public understands just how damaging coal mining is, and demand politicians protect our good agricultural land and water catchments.

“The Greens have a proud history of activism and standing up for what they believe, even at some personal risk.

“Under Mike Baird’s draconian new anti-protest laws, it will be very hard for MPs to attend anti-mining protests because a conviction for a crime with a possible seven year penalty would mean an end to their parliamentary career.

“Peacefully expressing a political point should not be punished by jail terms or crippling fines.  This is Australia, not Putin’s Russia.”

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