A coal seam gas protester has had his obstruction conviction quashed because a company failed to warn him adequately he was committing an offence by blocking access to a property.
Peter Drew Hutton, a prominent advocate in the Lock the Gate campaign, blocked a Queensland Gas Company (QGC) contractor from entering a property near Tara, 250km west of Brisbane, on March 29, 2011.
QGC held a petroleum authority permitting it to enter and undertake works on the property.
However, the owner of the station was in dispute with the company about whether the agreement encompassed land-clearing work about to be undertaken.
Mr Hutton, who had been there with other protesters, sat down on the track and refused to allow the company access.
He was arrested for obstruction, convicted and fined $2,000 in Dalby Magistrates Court in December 2011.
Mr Hutton appealed the conviction and sentence in the District Court in Brisbanein October last year.
His lawyers argued the warning given by Bryan Naylor, a QGC construction manager, was not sufficient under law.
They argued the wording of the law meant that because the warning was not compliant, Mr Hutton did not commit any offence.
In a written judgment published this week, Judge Fleur Kingham ruled in favour of Mr Hutton and quashed his conviction.