Protester escapes conviction
A NORTHERN Rivers resident has escaped conviction for her part in a blockade against coal seam gas in Queensland.
Wanda Halden, 33, of Larnook was charged with contravening a police order after refusing a move-on instruction from police at a protest at the Arrow Energy drilling site at Kerry, near Beaudesert.
Ms Halden represented herself at Beaudesert Magistrates Court yesterday.
She pleaded guilty and was fined $200 without conviction.
"I explained to the judge I had reasonable grounds to contravene such an order based on my conviction and belief that coal-seam gas is a direct threat to our water supply," Ms Halden said.
Ms Halden, a university student and sole parent, said she did "not want to be a law-breaking citizen".
"Given the inadequacy of the Environmental Protection Act the outcome was to be expected but it is a shame when law-abiding citizens are forced to do acts of civil disobedience to protect their water," Ms Halden said.
She said her experience in Kerry strengthened her resolve to campaign locally against coal-seam gas.
"There were probably about 80 people in front of the magistrate's court in support of the five people from the blockade who appeared, so the community really is uniting against coal-seam gas," Ms Halden said.
Alan Roberts of Kyogle is due to face the same charge on February 8.