Discharged: conservationist walks free from court

PROMINENT Coffs Coast ecologist and environmental activist, Mark Graham, can sleep much more easily after a range of allegations against him were discharged by Coffs Harbour Local Court.

Mr Graham was charged with a number of offences, including resisting arrest and stalking/intimidating a Forestry Corporation employee, arising from separate incidents at state forests on the Mid North Coast, last year.

Swell ElectricalAdvertise with News of The Area today.
It’s worth it for your business.
Message us.
Phone us – (02) 4981 8882.
Email us – media@newsofthearea.com.au

His defence team successfully argued for the case to be discharged under the Mental Health Act during a hearing last week.

Mr Graham’s defence lawyer, Ben Cochrane, told the court his client suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety at the time of the offences, because of previous dealings with Forestry Corporation and police, the flooding in Lismore last year and the loss of his home during bushfires.

Mr Graham issued a statement saying, “I am so relieved that this has finally come to an end.

“It has been a long and stressful 3 years for me, my family, and my community”, he said.

As part of the judgement, Mr Graham is required to continue a treatment plan and comply with an 18-month apprehended violence order, which was consented to without any admission of guilt.

He thanked his supporters and legal representatives and said, “I am excited to now focus on protecting the globally significant biodiversity within our public native forest estate, and standing with my community as we work together to give our koalas a future with the urgent creation of the Great Koala National Park.”

Mr Graham said fighting the charges had taken a heavy personal and financial toll, and he would be taking a break with his family to recuperate.

By Andrew VIVIAN

Leave a Reply