Draconian anti-protest laws need to be repealed despite Wollar Three charges being dismissed

The Greens NSW resources spokesman Jeremy Buckingham today congratulated the ‘Wollar Three’ protesters – Bev Smiles, Stephanie Luke and Bruce Hughes – after serious criminal charges for obstructing a mining operations were dismissed for lack of evidence.  He called for the law to be changed so that the act of protesting against mining operations could not lead to a potential seven year jail term.

“I’m very pleased that the court has dismissed the serious criminal charges that these brave protesters faced, but the draconian anti-protest laws brought in by the Baird Government need to be urgently repealed as future cases may result in a significant injustice,” Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.

“While the prosecution failed to present enough evidence in this case to convict the protesters under the draconian anti-protest laws, it’s alarming the magistrate noted that a different charge of ‘interfering with equipment associated with the mine’, may have been interpreted far more broadly and resulted in criminal convictions.

“The lack of evidence also meant that the magistrate did not have to consider whether these anti-protest laws breach the implied freedom of political communication under the Australian Constitution.  This is still a live question that should be answered by the parliament by repealing these laws and guaranteeing the freedom of political communication – the right to protest.

“The Greens call on the Premier Berejiklian to listen to the legal experts who warned that these laws and associated penalties represented significant overreach. These laws are far too harsh and far too broad.

“Australians should have the right to express their views and protest projects they see as harmful to the humanity and the environment.”

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