Tuesday 16th June 2009
Trial date set in Gunns 20 case
This morning, Justice Forrest of the Supreme Court of Victoria set the trial date for the remaining individuals in the Gunns20 case. It is expected to run for four to five weeks, starting in February 2010.
The trial will involve five individuals (Louise Morris, Lu Geraghty, Adam Burling, Neal Funnell, and Brian Dimmick) and one organisation (the Huon Valley Environment Centre). The defamation case against Dr Frank Nicklason also continues but will be heard separately.
â€œGunns continues to pursue individuals with limited assets and a small grassroots organisation based in the south of Tasmania" said Friends of the Earth Australia spokesperson Cam Walker. "Our understanding is that they have already spent around $3 million on the case, and it can be expected they will spend millions more taking this case to trial. It is obvious that this incredibly wealthy company will stop at nothing to halt opposition to its logging of Tasmaniaâ€™s forests."
"Community opposition continues to grow against the destruction of old growth forests. Just today research has shown yet again how significant old growth forests are as a major store of carbon. Most people do not support logging of old growth, and eco based tourism continues to grow as a major driver in the Tasmanian economy. Gunns is oblivious to all of this. Given that it cannot recoup the costs of this case from these individuals, even if it wins, we can only assume they are pursuing the case for other reasons. Regardless of their intention, to have a massive company pursue individuals in this way can only send the message that they are acting to silence and frighten those who do not support the continued devastation of the remaining ancient forests of Tasmania."
"McDonalds will be remembered for pursuing two environmentalists through the courts in the UK in the infamous McLibel campaign. In pursuing this case through to trial, Gunns are telling the world they want history to remember them in the same way - as giant corporate bullies who used all their might to try and silence those who were prepared to stand up for their beliefs".
For further information:
Cam Walker 0419 338 047