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Activist sentencing in Bowen Magistrates Court

28 April 2022

Anti-coal activist Kyle Magee was today handed a suspended custodial sentence for stopping a Bowen Rail Company train on the tracks in Central Queensland late last year, climbing onto a wagon and shovelling some of the coal it was carrying onto the ground. Mr Magee, 38, and his accomplice, 25-year-old Franz James Dowling, pleaded guilty in Bowen Magistrates Court to joint charges of trespassing on a railway, contravening police direction, and obstruction of a railway. Mr Magee pleaded guilty to an additional charge of obstructing police. Mr Magee was sentenced to three months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, fined a total of $1,000 and ordered to pay Bravus Mining and Resources $500 in compensation. Convictions were recorded. Mr Dowling received fines totalling $1,200 and was ordered to pay Bravus $500 in compensation. No convictions were recorded. The charge of obstructing a railway carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment. The two anti-fossil fuel activists, Mr Dowling and Mr Magee, blocked the Newlands rail line for more than 24 hours last December, which meant no rail traffic from any mines could use the line and coal could not be transported to the port for export. Their actions robbed Queenslanders of about $3.4 million* in royalties that could have been used to pay 45 full-time nurses’ salaries or pay for other essential health services when they were needed most during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adani Australia CEO and Country Head Lucas Dow said it was time the Queensland and Federal governments got serious about protecting coal, rail, and port workers by legislating mandatory penalties for repeat activist offenders. “At a time when NSW has increased penalties for people found guilty of staging protests like this including jail time, Queensland continues to hand out minimal sentences that do not reflect the seriousness of the offences, the danger they cause and the cost to our community,” Mr Dow said. “It’s time the Queensland and Federal governments backed hi-vis workers and made sure the penalties handed out are tough enough to deter these activists from reoffending. “These dangerous and illegal protests put workers’ lives at risk and rob Queenslanders of revenue which should be used to employ more nurses and teachers and build better schools, hospitals and roads.” Mr Magee and Mr Dowling are repeat offenders who made a premeditated decision to travel to Central Queensland to knowingly break the law and put the lives of both our people and emergency services workers at risk by illegally boarding one of our trains and shovelling coal out of a wagon. Law-abiding Queenslanders also had to foot the bill to fly specialist height-trained police from Brisbane to remove Mr Magee and Mr Dowling from the wagon. We have said all along that people are entitled to different views and to express those views in ways that are legal and safe. That is what makes our democracy great. Staging protests that put lives in danger or that prevent others going about their legal business is selfish and is not in the interests of our broader society. ENDS Download PDF...

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