Nannas escape convictions after Pilliga lock-ons

Byron shire activist Christina Charley, Angela Dalu of Lismore, Dominique Jacobs of Gloucester, and Therese Mason, of Lismore, appeared before magistrate David Heilpern, this morning. (picture Darren Coyne)

Byron shire activist Christina Charley, Angela Dalu of Lismore, Dominique Jacobs of Gloucester, and Therese Mason, of Lismore, appeared before magistrate David Heilpern, this morning. (picture Darren Coyne)

By Darren Coyne

Two Knitting Nannas and two other anti-CSG activists had charges relating to them locking-on at the Santos facility in the Pilliga forest in January dismissed in the Lismore Local Court this morning.

The four women had received notices for obstructing traffic and disobeying a police direction after locking on to the front gate as part of ongoing protest against unconventional gas mining.

Dominique Jacobs of Gloucester, and Angela Dalu and Therese Mason, both of Lismore, appeared together before magistrate David Heilpern, while Christina Charley of Byron Shire appeared a short time later.

All four women pleaded guilty, and their solicitor, Kira Levin of the Environmental Defenders Office NSW spoke of their good character, family commitments, and lack of previous convictions.

Magistrate David Heilpern said during sentencing that higher courts in NSW had set precedents by granting Section 10s (case proved but no conviction recorded) when a protest had been unlawful but there had been no damage to property.

As an aside he noted that he recently observed a group of nuns in Sydney practising non-violent tactics in preparation for providing sanctuary to refugees.

‘The times they are a changing when people who are are associated with the conservative sides of society are becoming more active,’ he said.

‘It is incumbent on me to say that the law will be treating people sympathetically when they come before the court for non-violent protest where the higher courts have set precedents.’

‘For all these reasons I am dismissing these charges under Section 10.  I considered a good behaviour bond but the truth is you don’t get a Section 10 twice.

‘If they come back before the court again the chances of a Section 10 are nil.

‘I don’t see the need for a good behaviour bond because you all know the consequences if you re-offend.’

After being dismissed, media had to wait while the Nannas attending this morning’s court retrieved their knitting and crochet needles, which had been confiscated by security.

Nannas founder and spokesperson Clare Twomey told Echonetdaily that it was a great result for the Nannas and other activists.

‘I don’t think what happened will deter people, but the  Baird government’s disgusting new laws where fines have gone up to $5,500, and this kind of offence has a jail sentence for up to seven years, … that would definitely deter a lot of people,’ she said.

‘A lot of people involved in this movement are in their 60s, and even in their 80s, and for people who have never been naughty before it’s very hard for them to cross that line between being law-abiding citizens and standing up for something they truly believe in.’


12 responses to “Nannas escape convictions after Pilliga lock-ons”

  1. Jill Keogh says:

    All power to the Knitting Nannas. Mining Mike Baird’s Government has over-reached itself with recent protest law changes and accelerated powers to the police.

    • Joe Monks says:

      We have a long hard fight ahead of us whilst world politics are dominated by neo liberal ideologies where the propaganda peddled is that the only good in life comes from the great god dollar.

      Malcolm Turnbull mouthes only economic benefits whenever he is asked a question about the welfare of the common person. Pity the economic benefits rarely filter down to the strugglers.

      Keep knitting nannas and you might come up with a tightly woven gag for Turnbull, Baird and his mates with merchant bank backgrounds.

  2. Earthlover says:

    All power to the knitting nannies, indeed! That headline was the first sign of sanity I’ve read re the csg issue since all those free-flowing promised about keeping northern rivers csg free just before we read of the draconian laws favouring illegal mining activity over responsible behaviour by citizens.

    Baird’s government certainly has overstepped the bounds of decency, and people now know just what they’re dealing with.

  3. Lina Eve says:

    All power to any protestors who protest crimes against the environment!!!

  4. Briony E says:

    Thank you Knitting Nannas and David Heilpern. Love your courage!

  5. Nanna Cherry says:

    I think that it is wonderful that these women are brave enough to stand up for their rights to protest against these dreadful people and companies who have been given permission by our government to do what they are doing to our environment. Go the nannas!

  6. Barbara says:

    One sensible judgement does not absolve the judiciary from fault! When are judges going to band together and address these gross laws against freedom? Who is going to stand for our rights ?

    • Mark Smith says:

      Judges who are appointed by the govt don’t band together to oppose the legislation of the day. The govt is their bread and butter.

  7. Tweed says:

    What a waste of oxygen these people are. Cost taxpayer dollars and scarce court resources just to add some excitement to their sad lives. If they want to contribute there are plenty of destitute people who can’t afford just to sit around and knit. Help them?

  8. Jo Hoy says:

    Thankyou for your active support and time to demonstrate to our Government this is wrong.

  9. Sharron says:

    It is a shame when people that are standing for the environment stand the chance of being charged as criminals. It should be the ones that are destroying the environment being charged as criminals, not the people trying to save it!

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