Activist to face Supreme Court
The trial of anti-coal campaigner Jonathan Moylan will now take place in the NSW Supreme Court, after a successful request by the Department of Public Prosecutions for the case to be heard there.
Mr Moylan, 25, allegedly sent a hoax press release from ANZ in January informing shareholders that ANZ was planning to withdraw $1.2 billion in funding from a huge open-cut coal mine in NSW on ethical grounds.
He is being prosecuted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for his actions.
Appearing in Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday, Mr Moylan waived his right to a committal hearing.
Magistrate Bernard Kennedy then ordered that Mr Moylan's case be heard in the higher NSW Supreme Court, rather than the usual District Court.
John Sutton, the lawyer for Mr Moylan, said the fact the case would now be heard in the Supreme Court meant the state thought this was a "complicated matter". But he also said he did not "resile" from comments he made a few weeks ago that the federal government was hanging Mr Moylan "out to dry" by sending him to the higher court.
He said he wondered why similar cases appeared to be handled differently by authorities. "There was a similar issue when David Jones went through a share issue ... [where] someone put out a false prospectus. What happened to that? Nothing," Mr Sutton said.
"And yet to go near a mining company, where the chairman is a former deputy prime minister of this country [and this happens]. What do you think about the politics of that?"
Mr Sutton was referring to Whitehaven Coal, whose share price was smashed the day the fake press release was issued and whose chairman, Mark Vaile, is the former leader of the National Party of Australia.
It comes just one month after former Gunns chairman John Gay avoided jail after being convicted in the Tasmanian Supreme Court in August for insider trading.
He was fined $50,000 and banned from managing corporations for five years. Mr Sutton said that case would not have a bearing on this one, but the sentence was something to which he could point.
"It's something that we can raise, that when a captain of industry does something it gets that result, someone with the right connections, and yet someone who's standing by principle ... [for] a broader community benefit is getting smashed," he said.
Mr Moylan was committed to appear before the Supreme Court on November 1.