26-year-old activist sentenced to pay $61,000 in ‘victim compensation' to Qld Railways

July 26, 2019
Alice Wicks. Photo: Extinction Rebellion

On April 19, Alice Wicks locked on to a half-ton barrel, blocking all coal trains heading to the Port of Brisbane for 5 hours.

“I took this action because I have exhausted all other avenues for demanding action on the climate crisis. The permafrost has melted 70 years ahead of scientist's predictions. We need to act now”, Wicks said on July 26.

Wicks has been protesting for more than three years and has worked in the environmental management sector for five. The government has made no effort to curb the climate crisis, they said, all the while increasing anti-protest laws: anyone who trespasses on a workplace faces 10 years behind bars and a $391,000 fine.

Clearly, for government, corporate interests take priority over protecting our civil liberties.

Wicks pled guilty to trespass on a rail corridor, obstructing railways and obstructing police in the Queensland Magistrates Court. A good behaviour bond was imposed, reflecting the offences’ level of seriousness.

However, the court also found Queensland Railway to be the “victim” and ordered Wicks to pay $61,000 in compensation.

The same day, two French journalists were unlawfully arrested for filming an anti-Adani action. Their bail conditions prohibit them from being within 20 kilometres of the mine site in the Galilee Basin. The trespass charges against the journalists were later dropped.

“It’s clear that the state is cracking down on anyone who tries to shed light on this corrupt system”, Wicks said about the journalists’ arrests.

The increase in exorbitant fines on individuals stands in stark contrast to the lack of penalties on multimillion-dollar corporations that break the rules.

When Adani polluted the Caley Valley Wetlands, it got a slap on the wrist — receiving only an $11,000 fine. When it polluted the wetlands a second time, it was let off the hook completely.

The Queensland Labor and federal Coalition governments have orchestrated the annihilation of the environment by continuing to support the expansion of the coal industry at a time when the science says we need to rapidly decarbonise, Extinction Rebellion said.

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