Director of Public Prosecutions v. Fraser and O'Donnell (Supreme Court of New South Wales, Common Law Division, 2008)
Side A: Director of Public Prosecutions (Government)
Side B: Fraser and O'Donnell (Individual)
Criminal suit against protestors for causing damage to property
On 24 September 2007, two environmental activists associated with Greenpeace trespassed into a coal loader owned by Port Waratah Coal Services and halted the operation of the conveyor belt for almost two hours at a cost of approximately $27,000. Police arrested and charged the activists for "maliciously damaging property" under section 195 (1) of the Crimes Act 1900. The prosecutor and counsel for the defendants questioned the meaning of "damages" as it appeared in section 195 and whether the defendants' actions applied. The magistrate ruled that there were two sorts of damages (physical and monetary) and that the defendants could only be charged for monetary damage, which would constitute a civil crime, not a criminal one. He proceeded to dismiss the charge.