Climate activist cleared of ‘traffic’ charges

March 2, 2023
Richard Boult and a supporter outside the Downing Centre. Photo: @CounterActOz/Twitter

Climate activist Richard Boult was found not guilty of all charges brought by NSW Police on February 28 for stepping onto a road during a climate protest in Sydney last June.

Boult was charged under NSW road rules with obstructing traffic and causing a traffic hazard arising from his participation in Blockade Australia’s call for stronger climate action in the CBD.

Boult participated in the climate protest as part of the Extinction Rebellion drumming group. Afterwards, he attended a media conference to report for Green Left. Police recognised him from that, followed him to his car and laid charges described as him leaving the footpath and stepping onto the road.

Boult denied the charges, saying his movement from the footpath was at a point in the road designated as a closing point. He presented evidence from a body camera that validated his claims.

He also rejected a plea deal, which would have dropped one charge but retained another.

Boult was supported at court by members of his drumming group and the Socialist Alliance.

One supporter said: “I have often been with Richard at similar events, where he has performed the roles of police liaison, or crowd marshal. In all these cases, he has fulfilled these roles safely, in cooperation with authorities, and without incident. It would seem out of character for him to act otherwise.”

The court upheld Boult’s plea of not guilty and dropped the charges.

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