Opera House protestor on high seas

EMMA Briggs didn’t stick around to watch Deputy Chief Magistrate Paul Cloran slap her with a $750 fine for her part in a high-profile Greenpeace protest at the Sydney Opera House in December.

By the time her case came up at Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney yesterday, Briggs, 40, of Byron Bay, was already on the high seas, working as a bosun on the Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, somewhere ‘halfway between Europe and Doha’.

Briggs and four other Greenpeace activists were sentenced yesterday for trespass, after climbing one of the sails on the Sydney Opera House on December 15, where they unfurled a banner calling for an international treaty to combat climate change.

However the Copenhagen summit ended without a global agreement on how to tackle climate change.

A Greenpeace spokesman yesterday said the group did not regard their efforts – and the legal consequence – as wasted.

“It was an important and historic moment and there were 80,000 people on the streets who also felt they needed to get their voices across, because everything was happening too slowly,” he said.

The spokesman said Briggs was expected to learn of her conviction late yesterday.

In her absence Briggs was convicted of trespass. She and three of her co-accused were convicted and fined $750 plus $70 court costs, while a fifth was released on a Section 10 good behaviour bond.

Greenpeace has defended the protest, saying the organisation was ‘proud’ of the activists.

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