Anti Adani protester cops hefty fine for assaulting guard

AN ANTI-ADANI protester has copped a hefty fine for assaulting a security guard during an Adani protest last year.

Michael Kyneston, 48, pleaded guilty via phone call at Clermont Magistrates Court on September 23 to assault occasioning bodily harm.

Co-accused Sheridan Vautier, 23, was also expected to join the call from Switzerland, although she didn't appear.

Kyneston was sentenced, while Vautier's case was adjourned.

The incident occurred on September 4, 2019, when Kyneston and Vautier attended a protest at a rail construction site near the Gregory Hwy, Belyando.

About 6.40pm, a security guard attempted to prevent a protester, who was carrying a lock on device, from locking on to a drilling rig, the court head.

Senior Sergeant Paul Cramp said Kyneston moved to prevent the security guard from performing his duties.

The security guard was grabbed by the wrists and Kyneston pulled him away from the protester, trying to lock on to the machinery, which caused them to fall over a 45cm dirt ledge.

Sheridan Vautier.
Sheridan Vautier.

The security guard suffered scratches and abrasions to the inside on his wrists, although no victim impact statement was supplied.

Police were called to the incident, all of which was recorded on a body camera.

Defence solicitor Ms P White said Kyneston, who had no criminal history, was originally from Canada and has resided in Australia since 2006, where he has worked as a chef.

Kyneston, who has recently started working full time as a chef at Airlie Beach, has ambitions to stay in Australia long term with hopes to apply for citizenship, the court heard.

Although he originally appeared for assaults occasioning bodily harm while armed/in company, the words 'while armed/in company' were stricken, as with the charge of 'deprivation of liberty - unlawfully detain/confine', to which the prosecution provided no evidence.

Magistrates Robert Walker said the offence of assaults occasioning bodily harm was serious and carried a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.

"We live in a society that values freedom of expressions," Mr Walker said, "there are many legitimate ways to do that, but your activities well and truly cross the line."

"What's the point of your beliefs if you are going to act violently in pursuit of them?".

Due to his lack of criminal history and plans to reside in Australia, Mr Walker said a significant fine would be appropriate.

Kyneston was convicted and fined $1500. The conviction was not recorded.

Vautier has been charged with assaults occasioning bodily harm while armed/in company and deprivation of liberty - unlawfully detain/confine, although those charges were expected to be amended.

Solicitor Nathan Edridge said Vautier had all intentions of appearing on the call, although they hadn't been able to reach her, at what was 2am in Switzerland.

Vautier's matters have been adjourned to October 14 at Clermont Magistrates Court, where it was expected she will plead guilty after the resolution of charges.


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