‘Feral’ Beverley uranium mine protesters win Supreme Court lawsuit
Ken McGregor, Court Reporter
April 09, 2010 11:59AM
See horrific video footage of the protest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poqr787toC0&feature=player_embedded
ANTI-nuclear protesters who were beaten, blinded and sealed in shipping
containers – then dubbed “feral” by Treasurer Kevin Foley – have won their
Supreme Court lawsuit.
Ten years after the Beverley uranium mine protest, Justice Tim Anderson
today awarded the nine protesters and a television cameraman a combined
$700,000 compensation for the incident near Andamooka in May 2000.
Outside court, Lu White – who was awarded $95,110 for her ordeal – said the
police behaviour was “illegal, unlawful and violent”.
“I am absolutely delighted the Supreme Court of South Australia has found
for us and against the police,” she said.
“The police action was absolutely outrageous in a civilised country.
“People have a right not to be bashed, beaten and falsely imprisoned by
police. We have a right to protest. I am absolutely stunned this sort of
thing can happen in South Australia.”
In September last year, Mr Foley labelled the protesters a “bunch of ferals”
who had put the “safety of police officers in peril.”
Ms White said Mr Foley had been proved wrong and demanded he apologise for
his “undemocratic” remarks.
Cameraman Jamie Holland said he was locked in a shipping container by police
for three hours during the protest.
“It was violent and inhumane, it should not happen in Australia,” he said.
“I did not expect this to happen in Australia, it was just phenomenal. I
never believed it was actually happening until we were actually there (in
“The media cannot be treated the way we were by police.”
Justice Anderson today reserved his decision on costs, but the overall bill
to taxpayers could exceed $1 million.
In September last year, Mr Foley rejected attempts to settle the case with a
$600,000 compensation payout to the protesters, just weeks before the trial.
Justice Anderson today rebuked Mr Foley’s decision to do so, saying the
compensation rulings he had made and the compensation offers were strikingly
Protesters win – Foley slammed in Supreme Court
Greens MLC Mark Parnell has welcomed the decision to award ten protesters
$724,550 in compensation for their treatment and detention by Star Force
officers whilst protesting at the Beverley Uranium mine in 2000.
In an explosive judgement in the Supreme Court, Deputy Premier & Treasurer,
Kevin Foley has been singled out for his failure to acknowledge the
injustice done to the protesters.
“Kevin Foley’s bloody-mindedness has cost the State many tens of thousands
of dollars in additional compensation and legal costs. The protesters had
offered to settle the case, but the Treasurer refused to negotiate and now
taxpayers will be forced to pick up the tab for both sides of the case”,
said Greens MLC and lawyer, Mark Parnell.
“To make matters worse, the protesters had offered to settle the case for
less than the Court ended up awarding them. Foley’s attitude has cost us a
fortune,” said Mr Parnell.
“Today’s decision vindicates the position taken by the protestors to seek
justice for their illegal treatment at the hands of the police.
“The case also sends a strong message to SAPOL that they need to be more
sensitive about the rights of citizens to protest.
“These protesters had a right to express their concerns about the dangers
of the nuclear industry and South Australia’s role in it. This is an
industry that is implicated in nuclear weapons proliferation and an industry
that still has no solution to its toxic waste. That is certainly worth
protesting about,” he said.