Sunday, 31 July 2011

Criminal charges against Sibelco adjourned again

The company was charged in December 2009 with three summary offences alleging it did not have permits authorising it to remove and sell large quantities of non-mineral sand for landscaping and other purposes. The Court of Appeal has already confirmed that the actions were unlawful. However the company's criminal responsibilty has not been determined. Last month Unimin/ Sibelco was back in the Brisbane Magistrates court for 2 days, this time arguing that the prosecution against it is an abuse of process. The argument continues on November 7, with 3 more days set aside. It will then be almost 3 years since evidence was seized in a raid on Unimin's premises by the defunct EPA and two years since the charges were laid, an unusual delay in the initial hearing of summary charges in the Magistrates Court. Meanwhile, the government still refuses to send all of the evidence to the DPP for assessment of more serious charges, despite senior counsel opinion that there is a prima facie case of stealing and fraud against the miner.