Anti-Adani protesters outside George Christensen's office in Mackay CBD.
Anti-Adani protesters outside George Christensen's office in Mackay CBD.

Adani protester: bail conditions are ‘punitive’ and ‘unjust’

TWO anti-coal activists accused of aggravated assault against a mine security guard at a rail construction site at Clermont have lost their fight to return to an Adani protest base.

Swiss national Sheridan Vautier has pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm in company and deprivation of liberty over allegedly pulling and dragging an Adani contract worker to the ground last week.

Sheridan Vautier, who is charged with aggravated assault and deprivation of liberty over an incident at a protest at Clermont, leaves court after her application to vary bail was rejected.
Sheridan Vautier, who is charged with aggravated assault and deprivation of liberty over an incident at a protest at Clermont, leaves court after her application to vary bail was rejected.

She and co-accused Michael Kyneston, who is facing the same charges, pushed to remove bail conditions preventing them from returning to the anti-coal base near Bowen and approaching within 100 metres of any Aurizon or Queensland Rail railway or infrastructure.

“The bail conditions are very punitive in their nature … we’re fighting something big and it’s fighting back in a way that’s very unjust,” the 22-year-old university student said outside Mackay Magistrates Court yesterday.

Protester John Williams locked to a drill rig at Adani's Carmichael mine site. He was not involved in the alleged assault written about in this article.
Protester John Williams locked to a drill rig at Adani's Carmichael mine site. He was not involved in the alleged assault written about in this article.

Defence lawyer Peter Clark, for the pair, argued the protest base ban “encroached of her freedom of association” and said Ms Vautier “feels a strong connection to the place and feels safe there”.

Prosecutor Robert Beamish said Ms Vautier was at a lawful protest run by Frontline Action on Coal a day after appearing in court on the charges.

“Her bail conditions have not stopped her associating with those individuals,” Mr Beamish said, adding the Bowen address was the home base for FAoC.

Mr Beamish told the court that condition had been imposed because the two were accused of committing serious offending to facilitate protest action.

Ms Vautier had been a resident at the base for about a week, while Mr Kyneston had been living there for a few months and claimed to work as a chef at the location. Mr Kyneston is yet to enter pleas.

Michael Kyneston (right, red tie) is charged with aggravated assault and deprivation of liberty over an incident at a protest at Clermont.
Michael Kyneston (right, red tie) is charged with aggravated assault and deprivation of liberty over an incident at a protest at Clermont.

The court heard they had believed their bail conditions also prevented the pair, neither of whom held a driver’s licence, from travelling by rail but this was clarified not to be the case.

Magistrate Scott Luxton said he must have regard to the charges before the court, which were “serious offences in which violence in company was alleged” and jail was in range if convicted.

Their application to remove the conditions was refused. Both cases were adjourned for mention at Clermont on October 15.

Ms Vautier said she was meant to return to university next week. When asked what her plans were now she said, “That’s my personal life, I haven’t made any decisions yet.”