Lock the Gate loses court battle

Lock the Gate president Drew Hutton has been fined $2000 for attempting to block the construction of a gas pipeline on Queensland’s Western Downs in March.

Charged under Section 804 of the Petroleum and Gas Act for obstructing a company without a reasonable excuse, Hutton was facing a maximum penalty of $50,000.

The magistrate found Hutton guilty yesterday at the Dalby Magistrates Court but no conviction was recorded.

While the ruling reinforced the legal right of mining and gas companies to access private land, Hutton told AAP he would not be deterred.

“We’ll just continue doing what we’ve been doing,” he said.

Hutton said if appropriate activists would be “continuing to call on landowners to lock the gate”.

He said he was considering an appeal but would weigh up whether its costs would be worthwhile.

The case marks a significant setback for Lock the Gate, with Hutton previously announcing a win would allow landholders to “lock their gates with confidence”.

Yesterday anti-gas protesters, including Greens mining spokesperson Larissa Waters and leader Bob Brown, rallied in Dalby in support of Hutton.

Australian Mining contacted the APPEA this morning but they declined to comment.

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