The climate activist who paralyzed Sydney when she chained herself to her wheel on one of the city’s busiest roads during rush hour, faces no fine or jail time after a magistrate dismissed all her charges on mental health grounds.
Mali Cooper, 22, was one of the Blockade Australia protesters beaten with multiple obstruction and disturbance offenses after sensationally blocking access to Sydney Harbor Bridge in June.
They were charged with disrupting traffic and hindering drivers or pedestrians after a Blockade Australia protest in Sydney’s CBD and near the bridge in June.
On Tuesday morning, the 22-year-old appeared in Lismore court, where she risked being beaten with a two-year prison sentence and a $22,000 fine.
In dismissing the charges without conviction under the Mental Health Act, Magistrate Jeff Linden fired Mali Cooper for six months under the care of a psychologist.
“We are very relieved that the court has calmly considered all the facts in this case, including the psychological impact of climate change on young people like Mali,” their attorney Mark Davis said in a statement.
He said the court paid “full consideration” to his client’s pre-existing anxiety disorder, which was “deeply affected, exacerbated by the Lismore floods and her concerns about climate change to such an extent that it was clinically diagnosed after the Lismore floods.” as PTSD’. .
“Seeing (their) hometown of Lismore destroyed twice in the months leading up to (their) action caused trauma in (them) which was a decisive factor in today’s decision.”
He said Cooper “probably went a step further than she intended” when it came to the protest and that she regretted the suffering it caused those in the traffic jam.
He said she “decided to do something she might not have done in a more rational state” after seeing Lismore destroyed “twice in just a few months.”
Cooper had said they’d seen the city they loved being devastated by a climate catastrophe.
“The terrifying reality of climate collapse is here, this city is still alive,” they said.
Mali Cooper, 22, was one of the Blockade Australia protesters beaten with multiple obstruction and disturbance violations after blocking access to Harbor Bridge in June
Ms Cooper was charged with parking a white rental hatchback (pictured) diagonally across from the entrance to the busy tunnel, causing a 20-mile traffic jam
Ms Cooper has been instructed to attend bi-weekly counseling sessions for the next six months, with treatment extended if necessary.
The activist livestreamed the protest on her phone and was even approached by an irate motorist who told Ms Cooper that she was “fucking everyone’s day.”
The police are here,” she told the camera. “I’m not sure you can see it. Thanks everyone who listened.
“I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to hold this phone and this space. It’s a big day ahead of us.’
She was eventually dragged out of the rental property and arrested and appeared before the Central Local Court, where she was released on strict condition that she return to her home near Lismore, in northern NSW, and settle in between 10pm and 6am. kept a curfew.
Blockade Australia announced Tuesday that the judge had dismissed all of Ms Cooper’s charges in a cheering Facebook post on Tuesday (pictured, 22-year-old’s rent at the bridge entrance)
In the dramatic vision of her arrest in June, the activist was dragged from the car and held face down on the tarmac after specialists from police rescue units eventually had to cut her from the wheel.
Critics of the stunt said there could have been emergencies, such as ambulances or women in labor being stuck in the stalemate.
After a night behind bars, Ms Cooper told The Project’s hosts that she didn’t regret the protest but was “nervous about what the future holds.”
After spending the previous night behind bars, the 22-year-old said she was happy to have the chance to talk about climate issues.
Mrs. Cooper chained herself to the handlebars with a bicycle lock (left) causing a mile-long stoppage with an irate commuter hurling disgusting insults at her (right)
Host Waleed Aly then asked if Ms. Cooper’s intention was to “cause chaos, maybe get arrested and then get on television to talk about these issues.”
She replied that the disruption itself was the goal, because “it has been proven over and over that it has an effect that enables change.”
“We need radical change to save the planet.”
Blockade Australia announced Tuesday morning that the magistrate had dismissed all charges in a cheering Facebook post, which was warmly received by their followers.
“Great – thanks again for your courage, Mali, to take action and go to court,” one woman commented.
‘Climate criminals profiteers from the fossil fuel industry should go to jail. No protesters fighting for a habitable planet,” said another.
‘Thank you Mali! I am so sorry you had to risk your freedom to draw attention to the climate and environmental crisis we are facing,” a third wrote.
The group, which describes itself as a network created in response to Australia’s response to the ‘climate crisis’, took the opportunity to label NSW’s new anti-protest laws as ‘draconian’.
The laws were introduced to counter dangerous and disruptive protests.