Environmental advocates facing accusations of conspiracy for demonstrating outside the residence of the CEO of Woodside.
A group of individuals advocating for climate awareness will challenge allegations of conspiracy related to a demonstration outside the residence of the CEO of Woodside Energy.
On Tuesday, Jesse Noakes (34), Emil Davey (21), and Matilda Lane-Rose (19) entered a plea of not guilty in the Perth Magistrates Court for the charge of conspiring to cause criminal damage.
The Disrupt Burrup Hub trio were met by counter-terrorism police upon their arrival at the residence of Woodside’s chief executive, Meg O’Neill, on August 1st. This occurred while O’Neill, her partner, and their daughter were present, along with an ABC camera crew.
Register for Guardian Australia’s complimentary email newsletters in the morning and afternoon to receive your daily summary of news.
The group was apprehended and accused of illegally entering O’Neill’s property with yellow paint, water balloons, and a bicycle lock in an attempt to intimidate her.
A law enforcement representative explained the accusations of the event in court, which involved the protesters visiting a park near O’Neill’s residence and a Bunnings store leading up to the demonstration.
The prosecutor also requested to have the case escalated to the district court, typically reserved for more serious offenses, where the potential consequences for conviction could have been harsher for the group involved.
However, he was compelled to retract it when Magistrate Thomas Hall urged him to explain his request.
Zarah Burgess, the legal representative for Disrupt Burrup Hub, also concurred with the ruling to withdraw the application.
Burgess stated that Lane-Rose was unexpectedly approached by a group of over twelve counter-terrorism officers who were strategically positioned in O’Neill’s residence. Davey was taken into custody by police at gunpoint prior to the event.
According to her, Jesse Noakes remained in a stationary car with the engine running and did not exit the vehicle until instructed to do so by the police.
On Friday, O’Neill expressed his deep distress over the incident.
She is expected to make an appearance in a Perth court on Friday after obtaining restraining orders against certain members of the Disrupt Burrup Hub due to the altercation.
The Murujuga, also known as the Burrup Peninsula in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, is home to the largest and oldest assemblage of petroglyphs in the world, according to traditional owners.
Disrupt Burrup Hub claims Woodside’s operations in the area and its proposed expansion form the biggest new fossil fuel project in the country and could produce billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2070.
This year, Woodside has faced various actions, such as the release of noxious gas at their Perth office in June, resulting in the evacuation of approximately 2,000 employees.
On January 30th, Noakes, Davey, and Lane-Rose are expected to appear in court again.