Anti-CSG mob fills the court
BODIES were crammed in the aisles yesterday as anti-CSG protesters swamped Grafton Local Court to support the six men who had been held in police custody.
All six, who represented themselves in court, had refused bail or refused to comply with bail conditions set down by police after they were arrested at the Glenugie anti-CSG blockade on Monday.
The charges related to hindering police, obstructing vehicles or pedestrians and/or entering private premises.
Police arrested 18 people as a group of hundreds tried to stop drilling rigs and related vehicles from entering the Metgasco test drilling site.
After making arguments about their civil and human right to protest, four were granted bail with no condition other than that they be of good behaviour.
The remaining two were given two hours from the time of their release to collect their things from the Glenugie site. They are not allowed within 3km of the site until after their matters are dealt with next month.
Five of the men who appeared pleaded not guilty, with Alan Leslie Roberts, 69, of Bentley, asking for an adjournment for him to seek legal advice.
Roberts told the court he would not agree to the bail conditions offered by the police as it would give away his civil right to protest.
His call was echoed by other accused, including Ian Ronald Gaillard, 61 of Keerrong, who, according to police facts had been appointed as a police liaison person but was arrested when he allegedly ignored a police order and threw a bottle of water to another protester.
"In this case I feel my obligation under any sensible and international law is to object to the operation going down there which has the potential to harm a great many people," he told the court.
Magistrate David Heilpern agreed it was not necessary to stop the accused from protesting but issued a warning for them to "take a back seat" should they return or risk their bail being revoked.
He told Ingo Andreas Bruno Medek and Benjamin Zable that, should they want to return after the two hours, they could a seek a change in their bail conditions.
The arrested protestors are: Ian Ronald Gaillard, 61, Keerrong; Alan Leslie Roberts, 69, Bentley; John Leslie Wyborn, 43, South Grafton; Rodney Sharp, 49, Lismore; Benjamin Zable, 68, Nimbin; Ingo Andreas Bruno Medek, 40, Nimbin.