Climate change protester who was jailed for bringing traffic on the Harbour Bridge to a standstill is BAILED as she appeals her ‘vindictive’ 15-month sentence
- Deanna ‘Violet’ Coco was bailed on Tuesday afternoon, pending an appeal
- She was jailed for 15 months after staging a climate change protest in Sydney
- Traffic was brought to a standstill on Sydney Harbour Bridge because of it
A Sydney climate protester who was jailed for blocking peak-hour traffic on the Harbour Bridge has been released on bail pending an appeal.
Deanna ‘Violet’ Maree Coco was handed a 15-month sentence in December for her role in a protest which led to morning peak-hour traffic disruptions in April.
The 32-year-old was part of a two-car convoy that obstructed traffic on the bridge to raise awareness for climate change.
The Crown opposed bail on Tuesday at Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court citing concerns the climate activist would fail to appear in court and endangered community safety.
Prosecutors had also pressed for curfews should the activist be subject to a conditional release.
Violet Coco (pictured centre) was jailed for a maximum of 15 months over the Sydney Harbour Bridge protest
Judge Timothy Gartelmann rejected the Crown’s arguments saying a surety payment and the fact that she had not breached her previous bail conditions mitigated the concerns as he granted her bail.
Ms Coco will be required to reside at a nominated address until December 29 and cannot go within a kilometre of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Once she returns to Lismore, the activist will not be permitted to enter the Greater Sydney region unless to attend court.
She will have to report to police every week and surrender any travel documents.
Ms Coco (pictured above) will be forced to return to Lismore later this month, barred from returning to Greater Sydney until she appeals her sentence on March 15
She was sentenced to a non-parole period of eight months, expiring on July 31, 2023, for breaching traffic laws by blocking traffic, possessing a flare in a public place and resisting police orders.
Ms Coco was also fined $2500 for lighting the flare atop a truck parked on the bridge.
Human rights groups have labelled the protester’s jail sentence as ‘vindictive legal action’ that restricted the right to peaceful protest.
Her conviction came after the NSW government passed laws to punish disruptive climate protests earlier in the year, with activists facing fines of up to $22,000 and two years in prison.
Ms Coco is appealing the sentence which is slated to be heard in the District Court on March 15.
Her bail comes after NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet told reporters last Monday he was ‘pleased’ to see the sentence handed to Ms Coco, calling it ‘not excessive’.
‘If protesters want to put our way of life at risk, then they should have the book thrown at them and that’s pleasing to see,’ Mr Perrottet said.
‘We want people to be able to protest but do it in a way that doesn’t inconvenience people right across NSW.
‘My view is that those protests literally started to grind our city to a halt. The clear message here, and it is a clear lesson – everyone has the right to protest, but do so in a way that doesn’t inconvenience people.’
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured above) told reporters last week that he was ‘pleased to see’ the sentence handed to Ms Coco, later saying the protestor ‘inconvenienced people’
Human Rights Watch researcher Sophie McNeill labelled Mr Perrottet’s comments as ‘unbelievable.’
‘Unbelievable Dom Perrottet finds it “pleasing” a peaceful climate activist was given eight months prison time,’ Ms McNeill wrote.
Former Bachelor host Osher Gunsberg warning Mr Perrottet was on a ‘slippery slope’.
‘Protest is vital in a democracy, and considering what’s at stake, the level of protest was probably not even close to an appropriate response. It is a slippery slope from here, sir,’ the TV presenter wrote on Twitter.
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