Climate protest lovers’ ‘emotional turmoil’
TWO climate activists have been reunited by a Supreme Court judge who was told a bail condition keeping the young lovers apart had caused them "emotional turmoil''.
Extinction Rebellion protesters Emma Dorge, 23, and Jack Oswald, 23, were ordered not to have any contact with each other when they were granted Supreme Court bail in December.
Dorge, Oswald and Ryan Mitchell were arrested for allegedly blocking a coal train heading to the Port of Brisbane on December 3.
Oswald and Mitchell had allegedly climbed into a carriage and staged a sit-in for almost three hours before being removed by police.
They have been charged with obstructing a police officer and obstructing a railway.
Dorge was also charged with trespassing on a railway and obstructing a railway.
The court was told police alleged the locomotive driver identified Dorge as the female who stopped the train and she was seen by police near the railway at the time of the protest
Police alleged she had coal mark smears on her arms.
A Cleveland magistrate refused to grant all three bail and they spent three days in custody before Supreme Court Justice David Boddice allowed them conditional bail on December 6.
He ordered them not to have any contact with each other.
Justice Elizabeth Wilson yesterday was told Dorge and Oswald had been in a relationship for a month at the time of their arrest.
Lawyer Justin Sibley, who appeared pro bono for Dorge, said because of their romantic relationship, the bail condition was too onerous.
He said spending three nights in custody after her arrest also had been an extremely traumatic experience for Dorge.
In affidavits, Dorge and Oswald said they had been in a committed relationship for three months.
Oswald said the bail condition separating them had caused him "emotional turmoil and distress''
Dorge, who works as a midwife, said they had been living together at the time of their arrest and the bail condition had caused her "considerable emotional distress''.
Lawyer Brittany White, who appeared pro bono for Oswald, said he had been treated more onerously than other defendants who did not have alleged Extinction Rebellion connections.
The Crown opposed the bail variation application to allow the couple to have contact.
Justice Wilson said after considering the fact that Dorge and Oswald had been in a relationship when they were charged, a no-contact bail condition was more onerous than necessary.
She said neither had breached any bail conditions and she allowed them contact with each other but still ordered them to have no contact with co-accused Mitchell.
Dorge and a barefoot Oswald hugged and kissed as soon as they left the courtroom.
Outside court Ms White said it was a just outcome and Mr Sibley said Dorge was relieved.
Mr Sibley said Dorge had been initially kept in a watch-house for offences that would not have seen her receive any actual time if found guilty.
"The added anguish caused by her not being able to have contact with her partner was real,'' Mr Sibley said.
"We are pleased that Her Honour remedied that today."