BODIES were crammed in the aisles yesterday as anti-CSG pro-testers inundated Grafton Local Court to show their support for the six men who had been held in police custody.
All six, who represented themselves in court, had either refused bail or failed to comply with bail conditions set down by police after they were arrested at the Glenugie anti-CSG blockade on Monday.
The charges laid related to either hindering police, obstructing vehicles or pedestrians and/or entering private premises.
Police arrested a total of 18 people as a group of hundreds tried to stop drilling rigs and related vehicles from entering the Metgasco test-drilling site.
After making arguments about their civil and human right to protest, four out of the six accused were granted bail with no condition other than that they were to be of good behaviour.
The remaining two were given two hours from the time of their release to collect their things from the Glenugie site. They are not allowed to return to within three kilometres of the site until after their matters are dealt with next month.
Five out of the six men who appeared pleaded not guilty, with Alan Leslie Roberts, 69, of Bentley, asking for an adjournment for him to seek legal advice.
Roberts told the court he would not agree to the bail conditions offered by the police as it would give away his civil right to protest.
His call was echoed by other accused, including Ian Ronald Gaillard, 61 of Keerrong, who, according to police facts had been appointed as a police liaison person but was later arrested when he allegedly ignored a police order and threw a bottle of water to another protester.
"In this case I feel my obligation under any sensible and international law is to object to the operation going down there which has the potential to harm a great many people," he told the court.
Magistrate David Heilpern agreed it was not necessary to stop the accused from protesting but issued a strict warning for them to "take a back seat" at the protest should they return or risk their bail being revoked.
He told Nimbin men, Ingo Andreas Bruno Medek and Benjamin Zable, who said they only wished to return to the site to collect their belongings that, should they want to return after their two-hour lock-out time, they could appeal to change their bail conditions through the court.
All six men are due to appear at the same date as the other 12 accused at Grafton Local Court on February 11.
- Ian Ronald Gaillard, 61, Keerong
- Alan Leslie Roberts, 69, Bentley
- John Leslie Wyborn, 43, South Grafton
- Rodney Sharp, 49, Lismore
- Benjamin Zable, 68, Nimbin
- Ingo Andreas Bruno Medek, 40, Nimbin