Six environmental activists, who two weeks ago stopped a trainload of coal from Adani’s Carmichael mine and climbed machinery at Abbot Point coal terminal, faced Bowen Magistrates Court today.

All six plead guilty, though two had their matters adjourned for sentencing considerations. Four were sentenced, with penalties ranging from an 18 month good behaviour bond to fines of $800-$2000.

One matter was adjourned until tomorrow in Bowen due to prosecution applying to seize a mobile phone, while another was adjourned to Brisbane Magistrates Court on January 17 due to prosecution applying for a defendant’s drivers licence to be cancelled.

Frontline Action on Coal spokesperson Andy Paine said “civil disobedience has a long and proud history in changing our society for the better. Anyone who has studied history will know that legality and morality are not always the same thing, and that it requires people of conscience and courage to break unjust laws in order for our society to evolve. The climate crisis is a great moral challenge of our time, and those who knowingly destroy our planet are still enabled and protected by the law to do so. It is likely those who break laws for the sake of our climate will be justified by history just like so many other causes have been before.”

Adani have posted a series of social media posts in recent weeks demanding harsher sentencing for activists, including one today on the facebook page of their shell company Bravus Mining and Resources that said “Does this sound like a deterrent to you? It’s time the Queensland government got serious to stop this sort of illegal protest.”

Mr Paine responded “Adani are out of touch with reality. Just because something inconveniences their company does not mean it deserves harsher penalties. We have such things as sentencing guidelines and separation of powers in this country to stop big corporations from influencing our courts, and these are vital pillars of justice. Adani themselves have repeatedly breached their environmental obligations and have a longer criminal record than most of the protestors, so the media should treat their complaints as the ignorant hypocrisy they are.

 “Those more in tune with genuine legal principles have noted the increasing repression of climate activists in this country, and while most of today’s results fall within the realms of appropriate sentencing, we are concerned about the attempt to cancel the drivers’ licence of a young woman with no prior criminal record, charged with offences that have nothing to do with driving. We hope the court will recognise this is an overreach by the prosecution when it comes to sentencing.”