Court
Court

Bitter Adani legal battle hits Supreme Court

Dozens of anti-Adani protesters have gathered outside the Brisbane Supreme Court in support of one of the project's most vocal critics Ben Pennings who is locked in a bitter legal battle with the mining giant.

Adani lodged a landmark civil damages action against outspoken environmental activist Mr Pennings in August last year, claiming he orchestrated a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation against the company, costing millions of dollars.

The Galilee Basin miner Adani and its Carmichael Rail Network are seeking damages for breach of confidence, intimidation and conspiracy.

The case came before the court today where Mr Pennings' lawyers argued against confidentiality orders being imposed that would stop Mr Pennings from personally viewing details of the entire case against him.

Anti-Adani protesters outside the Brisbane Supreme Court as vocal activist Ben Pennings (waving) is locked in a bitter legal battle with the mining giant. Picture: Danielle O'Neale
Anti-Adani protesters outside the Brisbane Supreme Court as vocal activist Ben Pennings (waving) is locked in a bitter legal battle with the mining giant. Picture: Danielle O'Neale

But lawyers for Adani argued in court against the full particulars of the case being released to Mr Pennings, saying they were concerned the confidential information including plans for the mining project and related supplier contracts would be leaked.

Barrister Graham Gibson QC, for Adani, submitted Mr Pennings could not "be trusted to maintain confidentiality of any material that he's exposed to".

Anti-Adani protesters outside the Brisbane Supreme Court as vocal activist Ben Pennings is locked in a bitter legal battle with the mining giant. Pictured is Mr Pennings’ oldest daughter Isabella with protesters. Picture: Danielle O'Neale
Anti-Adani protesters outside the Brisbane Supreme Court as vocal activist Ben Pennings is locked in a bitter legal battle with the mining giant. Pictured is Mr Pennings’ oldest daughter Isabella with protesters. Picture: Danielle O'Neale

In a statement to media, Mr Pennings' legal team said the activist would struggle to defend his case if the details were kept confidential from him.

"Adani says Ben has taken its confidential information, but won't tell him what that information actually is," Marque Lawyers partner Kiera Peacock said.

"This creates a real tension with Ben's fundamental right to natural justice, to know the case he has to defend."

Anti-Adani protesters outside the Brisbane Supreme Court. Picture: Danielle O'Neale
Anti-Adani protesters outside the Brisbane Supreme Court. Picture: Danielle O'Neale

Mr Pennings said the confidentiality order sought would hamper his defence.

"It's impossible to defend myself against a multi-billionaire if Adani withholds details of its case against me," he said.

"I need to know what exactly Adani says I did wrong, so that I can actually defend this case and end the ongoing pain this is causing my family."

The hearing continues before Justice Susan Brown.

Originally published as Bitter Adani legal battle hits Supreme Court


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