Blow to Hinchinbrook legal fight

May 6, 1998

Blow to Hinchinbrook legal fight

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — Friends of Hinchinbrook, the group spearheading the campaign against developer Keith Williams' environmentally destructive Port Hinchinbrook resort, may be crippled after the full bench of the Federal Court ordered it to pay legal costs for Williams and the state and federal governments.

In a decision with broad implications for environment and community groups, the court ruled that the Friends of Hinchinbrook Society could not use "public interest" as a defence for not paying legal costs.

The Wilderness Society and Australian Conservation Foundation said other community groups could not now fight worthwhile battles through the courts.

Friends of Hinchinbrook spokesperson Margaret Moorehouse said the fight to protect the World Heritage area would continue. She rejected claims the legal costs would be up to $500,000 and claimed the society's legal battle had not been deemed vexatious.

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