A group of activists known as the "Newcastle 23" went before the Newcastle Local Court on January 19. The 23 are charged with "rail safety offences" on December 20, after they stopped a coal train in response to the failure of the Copenhagen climate talks to agree to adequate binding emissions cuts.
The train, en route to the world's biggest coal port at Newcastle, was blockaded for around six hours.
The protesters, including members of Rising Tide, the Greens, the Socialist Alliance, a Buddhist chaplain and an 87-year-old, were convicted and fined up to $750 each. About 50 people gathered outside the court to show their support for the accused.
One of the convicted, Zane Alcorn, told Green Left Weekly: "Fairly large fines were given to those with previous convictions for similar protests. It's an attempt to use big fines to intimidate people out of taking action in the face of a historic crisis. I think the majority of "the 23" will be appealing the severity of the judgement."