Extinction Rebellion figurehead Eric Herbert locked onto a parked car on Thursday. (ABC News: Anna Hartley)
A serial climate change protester who spent several hours locked to a car in Brisbane’s CBD as part of week-long demonstrations has been sentenced to six months’ probation, with the magistrate telling him his “brain hasn’t fully developed” over his decision to not use a lawyer in court.
- The court heard it was the eighth time Extinction Rebellion activist Eric Herbert had fronted court on protest-related charges since June
- Magistrate Judith Daley urged Mr Herbert to seek legal advice as he “lacks insight” into the court process
- About 200 Extinction Rebellion protesters blocked the William Jolly Bridge in Brisbane this morning as part of the final day of International Rebellion Week
Extinction Rebellion activist Eric Herbert, 20, represented himself in court as he pleaded guilty to committing public nuisance, causing an obstruction, contravening a direction, and breach of bail, after using a lock-on device to connect himself to a car outside the main Queensland Government building on Thursday morning.
Mr Herbert was one of 125 people arrested this week over protest activity in Brisbane’s CBD, Queensland police say.
The court heard it was the eighth time Mr Herbert had fronted court on protest-related charges since June.
The police prosecution argued Mr Herbert should be sentenced to one month in jail as no other punishment he had been given had worked as a deterrent.
During sentencing, Magistrate Judith Daley urged Mr Herbert to seek legal advice because he “lacks insight” into the court process and was facing a prison sentence.
“Science tells us that your brain hasn’t fully developed,” Ms Daley said, with regard to his age and ability to represent himself in court.
Mr Herbert was also was ordered to pay $350 restitution to police for the cost of towing the car.
Magistrate Daley suggested a “rehabilitative approach” and sentenced him to six months’ probation for breaching his bail conditions and committing public nuisance.
Mr Herbert is expected to return to court later this month on the alleged breach of community service orders.
Outside court, Mr Herbert said he had been “trained” in handling the legal repercussions of his protesting.
When asked if he would continue to protest while serving his probation, Mr Herbert said “the rebellion won’t be stopping” until the Government met the group’s demands.
“This is a political crisis that our leaders cannot ignore and this is not going away any time soon,” Mr Herbert said.
“I am way more terrified of not doing anything, than of receiving the punishment I am getting.”
Protesters block Brisbane bridge
Climate change protesters blocked William Jolly Bridge in Brisbane’s CBD this morning. (ABC News: Anna Hartley)
Earlier on Friday, about 200 Extinction Rebellion protesters blocked the William Jolly Bridge in Brisbane’s CBD just after 10:00am, as part of the final day of International Rebellion Week.
Police began moving them on about 30 minutes later, arresting several climate change activists who refused to leave the bridge, with some gluing their hands to the road.
Queensland police said 43 people were arrested at protests in Brisbane today.
Police said the people were aged from 16 to 75 and face a range of charges including assault police, dangerous operation of a vehicle, obstruct police, wilful damage, and contravene direction or requirement.
Acting Chief Superintendent Tony Fleming said the police response to protest activity was in line with the legal requirements of the Peaceful Assembly Act 1992 (Qld).
“More than 150 general and specialist police have worked each day this week to deal with the unlawful behaviour undertaken by Extinction Rebellion protesters,” Acting Chief Superintendent Fleming said.
“Protesters used a number of different tactics this week to try and prolong the impact of their protests upon commuters.
“Police responded quickly and professionally to their resistance to ensure the impact on the public was kept to a minimum.”
The William Jolly Bridge was reopened at about 12:15pm.
Organisers also took aim at the Queensland Government’s proposed lock-on laws and said the new laws would not prevent them from disruptive protests.