The journalists arrested reporting near the Adani mine have had extraordinary bail conditions slapped on them, conditions that have shocked law experts and union representatives alike.
According to the Queensland Council of Civil Liberties, the bail conditions slapped on those arrested while reporting near Adani’s mine are nothing less than an abuse of police power.
Michael Cope, a Queensland lawyer with 30 years experience told The Guardian that he believes these conditions are something new and appear to “shield the company” rather than follow the usual bail standards state legislation dictates. The journalists were ordered by police to not go within 20 kilometres of the Carmichael site.
“The legitimate purposes of bail are to make sure a person appears in court, make sure they don’t interfere with the course of justice and to make sure there’s no risk of reoffending.
“A bail condition that people not go back to the protest site is not unusual. But for police to take into account the interests of the company in a way that is not designed to achieve those (bail) objectives is entirely inappropriate, it’s an abuse of their power,” Cope said.
These conditions are something new, and appear to “shield the company” rather than follow the usual bail standards the state legislation outlines.
Two activists arrested at the same protest have no criminal record, both were asked to leave the Bowen area they were staying in, per the enforced conditions. An activist group castigated the police for their actions, stating that the bail was an “oppressive restriction of our freedom of movement” and that it “feels like they’re using our bail conditions as a form of punishment. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?”
MEAA (the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance) took the point further, with their chief executive Paul Murphy, stating that “…at a time when Australia’s reputation as a nation that upholds press freedom is already damaged, the actions of Queensland police have only gone to attract more unwelcome attention. The actions of Queensland police were heavy‐handed and unworthy of a healthy functioning democracy that upholds press freedom.”