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Update on Brown Mountain trial: Loggers vs Wildlife: Government vs Community

The Brown Mountain landmark trial has begun!

After months of preparation, our legal team and supporters have gathered in Sale and begun the two-week Brown Mountain landmark trial.

Everything is going very well so far. It's difficult to report on a hearing that is in progress, particularly since we are the plaintiff, so this article might lack a few things.

Our lead barrister, Debbie Mortimer SC, spent Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning in Court outlining what we say are the facts and the law, in a fascinating opening submission.

She spoke about the beautiful native wildlife that is central to our case, and the Court was treated to large pictures of the critters. It was almost surreal, but quite appropriate in our view, to see a team of lawyers in black gowns and wigs defending the furry, the feathered, the cray and the frog.

She said that VicForests has a number of legal responsibilities towards the environment, including endangered species, and that those responsibilities are inconsistent with logging at Brown Mountain.

For a more detailed summary of the first day's hearing, read this excellent article by The Age journalist Kate Hagen, who is attending the hearing Click here

Journalists from ABC Radio and Win TV (channel 9) are also attending the hearings.

VicForest's Defense

VicForests' lead barrister Ian Waller SC started outlining VicForests' case this afternoon. When Court adjourned today, he said he still had about an hour to go, so we haven't got the full picture yet.

But generally speaking he contended that VicForests' responsibility to the environment wasn't anywhere near as strong as we made out, and was balanced by its requirement to create economic and social benefits. He said that, to the extent to which VicForests has responsibilities to the environment and native wildlife, it has fulfilled them.

Judge and Legal teams in the field

On Wednesday, Justice Osborn and the legal teams were having a look at Brown Mountain first hand. It's not just a bushwalk, though; they will observe first hand some places and concepts about forests, logging and post-logging practices that will later on be discussed in Court.

Schedule

On Thursday morning, VicForests' opening submissions is expected to finish, then Environment East Gippsland will bring out our witnesses.

Court is open to the public. You are welcome to attend if you are in Sale - there have been a few people sitting quietly in the public area. If you drop in, please come up and say hello.

A local wag is tweeting the trial. Click here for regular updates.

Court adjourned until Tuesday 9 March (Monday 8 is a public holiday.)

Information, but not headers, from Jill and the team at EEG
Environment East Gippsland Forest Update

To make a tax-deductible donation for this crucial trial:

* Online - CLICK HERE.
* By direct deposit - email info[AT]eastgippsland.com.au for our bank account details
* By cheque - Make out to EEG and send to: EEG, Locked Bag 3, ORBOST Vic 3888

For more information CLICK HERE.

Comments

Brown Mountain supporters -
Please – if you can,
be on the Supreme Court steps at 10.15am this Tuesday (23rd)
for a photo opportunity –
cnr Williams St and Lonsdale St., Melbourne

Court is moving from Sale to Melbourne for the final wrap-up. The public is welcome to come inside and hear the two days of our opposing legal teams giving their final presentation/summing-ups. This starts at 10.30am on Tuesday (if you come in late – please remember to give a little bow to the judge as you enter the room).

VicForests lawyers go first, then our lawyers present our final case.

Update soon – just wanted to alert supporters of this now.

Please email eeg[AT]eastgippsland.net.au if you can be there – so we can plan for numbers.

Today saw about 40-50 supporters outside the Melb Supreme Court with glider posters and banners to support the EEG legal case.

The 7.30 Report and other media there to cover the event.

Inside the court VicForests lawyers gAve their side of the argument today from 10.30-4.30 (sorry to those who thought today would be exciting).

Tomorrow and possibly part of Thursday, EEG lawyers deliver the forest and fauna side and sum up the arguments. Please come along if you can and show your support. It should be very interesting as Debbie Mortimer SC is dynamite in her arguments and delivery.