The trial of a climate activist who blocked a street has heard argument over whether an arresting officer should have placed his hand on her neck.
The trial of a climate activist who blocked a street has heard argument over whether an arresting officer should have placed his hand on her neck.

‘Stop trying to f---ing choke me out’

A SENIOR Queensland police officer has defended placing his hand on the neck of serial climate activist Emma Dorge while escorting her from an Extinction Rebellion protest, telling a court he didn't know what she was going to do.

Acting Inspector Simon Tayler told Brisbane Magistrates Court today he was one of two police officers who removed Dorge from a seated protest on George St in Brisbane's CBD on August 9, 2019.

Dorge and two other women - Holly Porter and Clancy Maher - have pleaded not guilty to the charge of being a pedestrian obstructing a roadway.

Dorge has also pleaded not guilty to a separate charge of obstructing police.

The group were charged after they blocked an intersection on George and Elizabeth streets, following a protest on William St last year on "Rebellion Day".

The group were among several members of Extinction Rebellion who linked arms and blocked the streets.

Emma Dorge (left) with fellow protesters Clancey Maher and Holly Porter last August
Emma Dorge (left) with fellow protesters Clancey Maher and Holly Porter last August

The court heard the group had been given a permit to hold a protest at William St on that day and alerted the police to their plans.

However the court heard the permission did not extend to George and Elizabeth streets.

During the summary trial today, Acting Inspector Tayler told the court he had held on to the woman's neck while taking her to a police vehicle and walking her from the protest.

Under cross-examination from barrister Martin Longhurst, he was asked whether it was necessary to hold Dorge in that way while breaking up the protest.

"She was thrashing around at that stage, her head was moving around, she was swearing vigorously... I didn't know what she was going to do," Acting Inspector Tayler told the court.

His comments come as lawyers for three members of Extinction Rebellion argued the charges of obstructing a roadway should be dropped because the protest was authorised.

In video footage tendered to the court, Dorge can be heard telling police, "Stop trying to f---ing choke me out."

On the stand, Dorge said group were acting in the face of an climate emergency when they held the protest.

"Did you see any other realistic option to affect climate change other than civil disobedience?" Mr Longhurst asked.

"No," Dorge replied.

Acting Inspector Simon Tayler outside court
Acting Inspector Simon Tayler outside court

 

Emma Dorge at a previous court appearance
Emma Dorge at a previous court appearance

She told the court officers holding her neck and wrist was "really painful" and had caused her to move forward while being placed under arrest -- which is alleged to have been an act done to obstruct and hinder police.

"It was painful because they were twisting my arm above my back quite high," Dorge said, saying there was an immense amount of pressure put on her body by police during the incident.

Griffith University Climate Change Response Program director Professor Brendan Mackey was today called to give evidence by lawyers acting for the protesters.

Under a fiery cross-examination from lawyers for Queensland Police Service, Prof Mackey disagreed there were "other options available to (protesters) than sitting in the middle of an intersection in a busy street, in response to this climate emergency".

"That action could lead to governments giving effect to their commitments under the Paris agreement," he said.

When answering whether there had been significant climate events in the days leading up the protest, Prof Mackey was warned by Magistrate Anthony Gett for going off topic.

"You have answered her question and you're just giving a speech," Mr Gett told him.

The trial continues.



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