An anti-Adani protester was fined in Bowen Magistrates Court last week.
An anti-Adani protester was fined in Bowen Magistrates Court last week. Monique Preston

Anti-Adani protester finally sentenced for lock-on offence

AN ANTI-Adani protester who climbed onto a coal loading structure at Abbot Point Coal Terminal in January last year has been fined $2500.

Megan Armstrong, 48, of the Townsville suburb of West End, faced Bowen Magistrates Court last week charged with trespassing in a yard of a place of business, unregulated high-risk activities and contravening a direction of police.

Armstrong pleaded guilty to the charges last year, but her case was delayed by a magistrate who wanted to find out the outcomes of appeals in the District Court on earlier decisions of others involved in anti-Adani protests in the area before he made his final decision.

Those appeals have been finalised in recent months.

Armstrong was not in court for the handing down of her sentence, with her appearance excused by the magistrate.

Instead, she was represented by her solicitor Nathan Smith.

The charges relate to an incident where Armstrong was among a group of people who entered Abbot Point Coal Terminal at 5.30am on January 18 last year.

She and four others locked themselves onto the coal loading trestle that moves coal to ships.

The plant had to be shut down to prevent injury to protesters.

Mr Smith told the court the other sentence appeals saw the "eight or nine" defendants, who were earlier fined about $8000 each, have their fines dropped to $2000-$3000 on appeal.

He said those defendants fell into three categories.

Those who were fined $2000 were young or had a limited capacity to pay.

The ones who were fined $2500 were not young, but had no criminal history.

The third group who were fined $3000 had similar offending on their record and had a capacity to pay bigger fines.

Mr Smith argued Armstrong fell "squarely in the middle category".

As a teacher who works for the Department of Education in dealing with youth who are having difficulties, Mr Smith said his client had the capacity to pay the fine.

She also has no convictions on her criminal record for similar offences.

Magistrate Ron Muirhead fined Armstrong $2500, but no conviction was recorded by the court on any of the three charges.