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Jonathan Moylan pleads not guilty in Supreme Court

25 year old, coal-mine activist, Jonathan Moylan has made his first appearance in the Supreme Court of New South Wales today, where he entered a plea of not guilty. The ongoing case was moved from the Downing Centre Local Court to the Supreme Court on the request of the prosecution. Supporters stood out the front of court holding placards and banners showing their support for Jonathan and his actions. Mr Moylan was also supported by his parents, and his twin sister.

Maules Creek local farmer Rick Laird, whose property is threatened by Whitehaven’s proposed mine, also attended court with Mr Moylan. The Laird family has owned property in the area for 150 years and are the namesake of the Leard State Forest, two thirds of which will be destroyed if the proposed mines in the area go ahead.

“We’ve been fighting these mines for years, and people are finally starting to hear about it. You’re only given limited ways to challenge mine proposals, and they get approved anyway, even if it means the end of a community. If these mines go ahead, its the end of our livelihoods. We won’t be able to farm the land and we worry about the impact of coal dust on our health,” said Mr Laird.

“The Maules Creek community stands with Jono,” said Mr Laird, out the front of the court house where a large contingent of people from the Gomeroi nation, also joined the vigil.


An international campaign has also been growing with Jonathan receiving support from prominent figures such as Noam Chomsky, Bill McKibben and David Suzuki. In recent days there has been coverage in several European papers.

“It is an honor to stand with Jono, to support him in his dedicated and courageous actions to defend all of us against the scourge of coal mining that is destroying the prospects for decent survival, and to protest, vigorously, the harsh sentence for actions that merit praise, respect, and thanks,” said Mr Chomsky.

David Suzuki has recorded a video message, which will be released in coming weeks and says, "Do I support Jonathan Moylan? You bet I do. He's a hero."

Author, environmentalist and founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben said, "Harshly punishing nonviolent action against the coal barons is not just spiteful and mean, it's stupid. Mr Moylan clearly speaks for the future."

In a campaign video that has been widely circulated high profile barrister Brian Walters SC stated, “Jonathan served ANZ shareholders by making them aware their resources are being used unethically."

In January this year, Mr Moylan sent a press release on ANZ letterhead to the ASX stating that the bank would withdraw financial support from Whitehaven’s Maules Creek open cut coal mine on ethical grounds.

Mr Moylan is being prosecuted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) under section 1041E of the Corporations Act, pertaining to the making of false or misleading statements. He is the first individual to be charged under that section of the Act.

More background here and in the video released by the campaign. You can download a high resolution version here or view on the website: www.standwithjono.org

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What: Jonathan Moylan, 26, will appear before the Supreme Court in Sydney for sentencing tomorrow, Friday 25 July, at 2pm. Supporters will hold a vigil outside court from 1.30pm



The sentencing this Friday follows a hearing on July 11, at which the judge adjourned sentencing to allow time for deliberation.

 

In January 2013 Moylan issued a press release on ANZ letterhead saying the bank had withdrawn its $1.2 billion loan facility from Whitehaven’s Maules Creek Coal Project in NSW on environmental and ethical grounds.



Moylan is charged under section 1041E of the Corporations Act, pertaining to the making of false or misleading statements. The maximum penalty is ten years in prison and a $765,000 fine. 



When: 2pm, Friday 25 July.  Supporters will hold a vigil outside the Supreme Court of NSW from 1.30pm.



Where: Supreme Court of NSW, 184 Phillip St, Sydney.



Media Contact: Rick Laird, Maules Creek farmer, is available for comment. Call Nicola Paris on 0422 990 040 or Madeleine Egan on 0423 100 113 to arrange an interview and for further information.



Rick Laird is a farmer from Maules Creek. His family has been farming in the district for more than 150 years, but the future of their farms is now under threat from Whitehaven’s ANZ-funded Maules Creek coal mine. Rick will travel from Maules Creek to support Jonathan Moylan at court on Friday.



Jonathan Moylan will not be available for comment before sentencing. His availability to comment after sentencing is TBC, subject to the outcome of the sentencing.

 



BACKGROUND



ANZ provides a $1.2 billion loan facility to Whitehaven Coal, primarily intended to develop the Maules Creek Coal Project. The Maules Creek Coal Project is a new open-cut coal mine being developed in Leard State Forest and adjacent farm land near Maules Creek in north west NSW.

 

Leard State Forest is located between Narrabri and Boggabri. It includes the most extensive and intact stands of the nationally-listed and critically endangered Box-Gum Woodland remaining on the Australian continent. The forest is home to 396 species of plants and animals and includes habitat for 34 threatened species and several endangered ecological communities. 



The Maules Creek Coal Project is approved to extract up to 13 million tonnes of coal annually, and estimated to produce 30 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. The mine is expected to operate for more than 30 years. The coal will be railed from the mine in north west NSW to the port of Newcastle for export. The coal mine project boundary is approximately 5 kilometres from the Maules Creek township.

 

Maules Creek farmer Rick Laird speaking in support of Jonathan Moylan on July 11 told media: “ANZ’s loan means Whitehaven Coal can turn Maules Creek from a farming village into an open-cut pit.  We rely on groundwater to water our livestock and for our household water supply, and the Whitehaven Coal mine will lower our water table by 5-10 metres. We’ve been fighting this mine for years, and the stand that Jono took means that people now know what’s happening at Maules Creek.  Jono stood with us, and now we’re here to stand with Jono.”

 

On the day of the release Whitehaven Coal’s share price went from $3.52 to $3.21 before a trading halt, recovering to $3.53 within an hour of trade resuming.  Whitehaven's share price has since plummeted due to slumping coal prices, closing at $1.68 yesterday.

 

Jonathan Moylan, from Newcastle, received a 20-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to disseminating false information, but Supreme Court Justice David Davies ordered his immediate release on a $1,000 bond.

Read more here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-25/jonathan-moylan-judgement-for-fake-anz-press-release/5624542

3.40pm, Friday 25th July, 2014. Supreme Court of NSW, 184 Phillip St, Sydney.

Jonathan Moylan, 26, was today sentenced to 1 year 8 months imprisonment, but will be released immediately on a 2 year good behaviour bond following a hearing at the Supreme Court in Sydney. 150 supporters held a vigil in support of Moylan outside the court.

“The determination of the movement to protect the Maules Creek community, farmland and Traditional Owners is only getting stronger and I’m confident that determination won’t be broken,” said Jonathan Moylan.

“In 30 years time our children will look back on us and we will have to answer to them,” he said.

Rick Laird, farmer from Maules Creek whose family has farmed in the district for over 150 years, travelled to Sydney to support Jonathan Moylan.

"Jono is a young man of great principle and conviction and we are incredibly grateful for the stand he took to support Maules Creek. We remain determined to fight off Whitehaven's coal mine to protect Maules Creek and Leard State Forest," said Rick Laird.

“To most people ANZ is just a bank, but to our community at Maules Creek their loan to Whitehaven Coal threatens to put an end to 150 years of farming in the region."

“We’ve been fighting this mine for years but what Jono did means the world knows what is happening to Maules Creek farms and the Leard State Forest," said Rick Laird.

In January 2013 Jonathan Moylan issued a press release on ANZ letterhead saying the bank had withdrawn its $1.2 billion loan facility from Whitehaven’s Maules Creek Coal Project on environmental and ethical grounds. Whitehaven’s share price temporarily fell before quickly recovering.

Moylan was charged under section 1041E of the Corporations Act, pertaining to the making of false or misleading statements.

FOR COMMENT: Rick Laird, Maules Creek farmer on 0427 056 418
FOR MEDIA ASSISTANCE: Nicola Paris on 0422 990 040, Madeleine Egan on 0423 100 113

IMAGES: High-resolution photographs are available at:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/standwithjono/sets/72157645492344138/

BACKGROUND

ANZ provides a $1.2 billion loan facility to Whitehaven Coal, primarily intended to develop the Maules Creek Coal Project. The Maules Creek Coal Project is a new open-cut coal mine being developed in Leard State Forest and adjacent farm land near Maules Creek in north west NSW.

On the day of the hoax, Whitehaven Coal’s (WHC) share price dropped from $3.52 to $3.21 before a trading halt, and bounced back to $3.53 within an hour of trading resuming. Since January 2013, Whitehaven's share price has plummeted in the face of the slumping global coal price, closing at $1.68 yesterday.

Leard State Forest is located between Narrabri and Boggabri, it includes the most extensive and intact stands of the nationally-listed and critically endangered Box-Gum Woodland remaining on the Australian continent. The forest is home to 396 species of plants and animals and includes habitat for 34 threatened species and several endangered ecological communities.

The Maules Creek Coal Project is approved to extract up to 13 million tonnes of coal annually, and is estimated to produce 30 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. The mine is expected to operate for more than 30 years. The coal will be railed from the mine in north west NSW to the port of Newcastle for export. The coal mine project boundary is approximat