All charges were dismissed in Kyogle Court for the four forest protectors arrested in November for defending Cherry Tree State Forest from logging. Malveena Martyn, Naomi Shine, Ian Gaillard and Dee Mould, collectively known as the “Cherry Tree Four” who had their final day in court after over six months of legal action were relieved and proud to have had their efforts exonerated by the court.
Ms Shine said she was proud of what she had done. “Cherry Tree is a beautiful native forest and the wildlife corridor is part of is so valuable,” she said. Ms Martyn was clear about why she was involved in the protest. “We want logging in public native forests stopped,” she said. “The Forest Corporation has been doing what it likes for decades.”
The group’s lawyer, Eddie Lloyd said, “Today I had the honour of representing these incredible climate change warriors who were arrested for trying to protect Cherry Tree State Forest from logging by the Forestry Corporation.” “In submissions today, the Magistrate accepted that we were living in a climate crisis and agreed that these climate change warriors were just trying to protect endangered & threatened species from death by Forestry Corp logging in Cherry Tree State Forest. All charges were dismissed.
“These warriors of the forest, who are held in high regard and seen as leaders in our community, should never have been dragged to court. There is something seriously wrong with laws that criminalise community leaders for trying to save our planet. There is something seriously absent in our laws that this forest was not protected and that the Forestry Corp were able to log in this significantly biodiverse hotspot.
“Civil disobedience is what activists are forced to do when the Government prioritises protecting vested interests over the protection of our planet.” Ms Llloyd said.
For more information see https://www.nefa.org.au/cherry_tree_state_forest