Forest activists sentenced after disruption of Newry logging activities

Hannah Harlen, Brendan Scotts, Wilkarr Karikuta and Ishka Targett were sentenced recently (BAN)

AFTER having their cases deferred last year, four ‘forest defenders’ faced court last month to finalise charges after locking on to forestry harvesting equipment in Newry State Forest.

Their actions were part of ongoing protests which included the setting up of ‘Camp Nunguu’ in the forest.

Brendan Scotts, Ishka Targett and Hannah Harlen received no fines, had no convictions recorded, and were placed on good behaviour bonds ranging from three to nine months for their locking on to equipment.

Last year, two other activists received similar sentences for locking on to forestry equipment.

Indigenous man Wilkarr Karikuta, who has previous convictions for direct action to disrupt logging activities, was subject to a previous court order at the time of his action in Newry.

He received an eighteen-month community corrections order and a $1000 fine with a conviction recorded because of his prior history.

A spokesperson for the Bellingen Activist Network (BAN) told NOTA, “These four people have played a significant part in halting work in the native forests of Newry.”

The spokesperson said the Network responds to calls from Gumbaynggirr elders and the focus for community protests has currently shifted to Pine Creek State Forest, with the setting up of a camp there.

“There are issues at Clouds Creek, Tuckers Nob, and Sheas Nob but we can’t be everywhere.

“There are trees in Newry that still stand now because of the actions of these four.

“They deserve our thanks.”

By Andrew VIVIAN

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