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Blockade Australia protesters charged under Perrottet government crackdown receive only

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Protesters who faced a $22,000 fine or two years in prison for demonstrating in Sydney under tough laws championed by the Perrottet government have instead walked away without convictions or with modest financial penalties, a lawyer for the activists says.

New South Wales police charged at least 20 people with a range of offences during Blockade Australia protests in Sydney last June.

The offences included seriously disrupting or obstructing traffic on a major bridge, tunnel or road, the new laws subject to harsh penalties including a maximum fine of $22,000 or two years’ imprisonment.

But lawyer Mark Davis, who is representing 18 people charged with the offence, says the vast majority received only minor penalties.

Last month, 15 of the cases were resolved, Davis said, with six protesters receiving non-convictions, and the rest receiving modest fines of between $100 and $800.

Three more cases are set to be heard later this month.

The new laws were passed last April, with the then-NSW government saying previous penalties had not prevented protests.

“The old laws, at $400 a pop, were…

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