Knitting Nannas at the Santos coal seam gas mining operation at Pilliga, North West NSW.
Knitting Nannas at the Santos coal seam gas mining operation at Pilliga, North West NSW. Aswas Photography

Charges dismissed against Nannas who locked-on at Pilliga

CHARGES against three Northern Rivers women who locked-on to Santos CSG equipment in the Pilliga forest in January have been dismissed in court.

Angela Dalu, Dominique Jacobs and Theresa Mason appeared in Lismore Local Court this morning charged with obstructing a vehicle and disobeying a police direction.

The charges related to an incident in the Pilliga forest on January 18, where Ms Dalu and Ms Jacobs, both members of the Knitting Nannas, and Ms Mason locked on to Santos equipment, while about 20 other Knitting Nannas had a tea party on the road in front of them.

Knitting Nanna spokeswoman Clare Twomey said when police came and asked the Nannas to move their tea party they complied, but the three women chose to remain locked-on to the equipment.

Ms Twomey said when the women all entered a guilty plea to obstructing a vehicle, the charge of disobeying a police direction was dropped.

"We had about 25 Nanna's and we also had about a dozen other supporters in the court," she said.

As the offences the women committed were before the Baird government passed the controversial anti-protest laws, Magistrate David Heilpern had to sentence the women based on the former legislation.

"The court heard about the character of the women, and how both Knitting Nannas were good Catholics and they had very strong convictions about what they were doing," she said.

Magistrate David Heilpern dismissed the charges under section 10 of the sentencing procedure act.

"He said this was the one and only section 10 the women would get and if they come before the courts again on similar charges it would be more serious," Ms Twomey said.

Ms Twomey said now that the new anti-protest laws had been introduced, it may change future protest actions.

"The consequences will be far greater and this will stop a lot of people who have just come into the movement from getting a criminal record, they will make people stop and think twice about doing this sort of thing," she said.

Overall, Ms Twomey said the result was a great outcome for the Knitting Nannas.

"It was a great outcome for us and it shows that protesters aren't, as some people think, young, unemployed and dirty," she said.

"We are people from good backgrounds, with good histories, who are upset enough to put our bodies and our reputations on the line to try and stop this horrible industry."