Step-In to Step it Up on Climate Change

Community action to switch off the CPRS and switch on renewables in 2009

Brief Legal Information October 14, 2008

Filed under: Helpful resources — hollycreenaune @ 12:08 am

Different types of actions can have different legal issues and consequences. Most charges laid at protest actions are relatively minor. Some of the most common charges arising from protest activities include obstruction of a police officer, obstruction of a road, and trespass.

As constituents, you have a right to enter your MP’s office.  If you choose to remain for an extended period of time, staff may ask you to leave.  If you fail to leave, you may be committing the offence of trespass. If you are charged and go to court, the penalty is usually a small fine.

It is important in planning to consider that certain conduct may put people in a position where they are liable to be arrested, which may in turn result in criminal charges, court processes and potentially a criminal record. People should decide beforehand whether they wish to take this risk. Once charged, it is important to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

Being arrested: Police are not required to give you a warning prior to arresting you, but many times they will. Police must formally tell you they are arresting you.

Name and address: Police have the right to ask for your name and address if they reasonably believe that you have committed, or are about to commit any offence, or you may be able to assist in the investigation of an indictable (serious) offence.

Answering police questions: Apart from name and address, you have the right to refuse to answer any other questions. You can say ‘no comment’ or ‘on legal advice I have no comment to make’. Practice this & be prepared to be repetitive. There are no off the record conversations.

For more information, see www.activistrights.org.au.  You can also contact a lawyer, Community Legal Centre or the NSW Environmental Defenders office.

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