A $200,000 NSW riot police operation to break an anti-CSG protest at Glenugie may not secure any convictions.
More than 20 protesters were arrested when police broke up a protest in The Avenue at Glenugie on January 1 to allow CSG miner Metgasco's trucks access to a test drilling site.
Three of the protesters facing charges of hindering police, obstructing a driver's path and not complying with police directions were acquitted of all charges yesterday in the Grafton Local Court.
Magistrate David Heilpern found Ingo Andreas Bruno Medek, of Blue Knob, not guilty of hindering police and obstructing a driver in a hearing before lunch.
After the break he dismissed charges against Ian Ronald Gaillard of Keerong and Benjamin Zable, of Nimbin, in a few minutes, sparking some celebrations among supporters outside the court house.
Mr Gaillard said the offences he and Mr Zable were charged with occurred when he disobeyed police instruction to give Mr Zable a bottle of water during the protest.
Outside the court yesterday the pair re-enacted their actions for the benefit of about 20 supporters who turned up for the court case.
Defence solicitors Steve Bolt (for Mr Medek) and Philip Wykeham (for Gaillard and Zabel) said the decision could have major ramifications for two test cases in Maclean Local Court on July 9 and 10.
Mr Wykeham said after the magistrate's ruling yesterday, police commanders will have to make a decision to go ahead with the cases, which are to be used as templates for charges against other CSG protesters arrested at Glenugie.
Read the rest of The Daily Examiner article of 8 May 2013 here.