Bashed Beverley Uranium protesters win $700,000 payout

A South Australian Supreme Court Judge has awared over $700,000 in damages to 10 people bashed with batons, capsicum sprayed and locked in a shipping container at a protest against the Beverley Uranium Mine in May 2000. The judge slammed the “Star Force” special response police for abusing human rights and using excessive force. He also slammed the Deputy Premier and Police Minister for refuseing to mediate a solution and publically calling the demonstrators “feral”.

From The Beverley Blockade | Beverley Police violence victims file suit. | Protest Images

Those awarded damages included 8 protestors, an eleven year old Aborignal girl and a Channel Seven cameraman. The largest payout to an individual was over $90,000. The Supreme Court Judge Timothy Anderson in his ruling said on the issue of protestors being held in a shipping container “"It was degrading, humiliating and frightening," he said. "It was an affront to the civil liberties of the protesters. " He added“The conditions were oppressive, degrading and dirty, there was a lack of air, there was the smell from capsicum spray and up to 30 persons were crammed into a very small space."

Judge Timothy Anderson found some of the force used by police was unwarranted: "Some of those arrested, some being plaintiffs, were mere passive observers, several of whom were taking video footage."

In criticizing the Deputy Premier of South Australia Mr Foley who publically criticized the protestors as “feral” Justice Anderson said his comments, which came when the government withdrew from attempts to resolve the case through mediation, were both unreasonable and antagonistic.

"The comments are one-sided and do not acknowledge the extreme way in which the police dealt with protesters and the circumstances of their detention," the judge said.
He also criticised Police Minister Michael Wright who had rejected the idea of a settlement because of its potential to undermine the good standing of the South Australian police and encourage others to sue.

"It is my view that both ministers, in making these statements, have acted with a high-handed and contumelious disregard of the plaintiffs as citizens of the state with a right to protest, and with the right to be treated according to law if they did protest," Justice Anderson said.



I remember the initial reporting of the legal action on Melbourne Indymedia in 2003. It has taken 7 years since filing and 10 years since the event in question to achieve some compensation for a human rights abuse by the SA police. A sad reflection on how long it takes the wheels of justice to turn.

I think the shipping container was cleaner than the houses the ferals live in.
What a waste of Tax payers money.
I was their and the police did the right thing you should of heard the filth that was coming out of the ferals mouths I thought the police showed great restraint.
Just another example of the courts getting it wrong.

i was also there, and while i didn't cross the fence, i was very fortunate not to be bashed by the police as they randomly targeted civilians and circled them in attack formation and ran them into the ground. I found the military style performance of the police had no place on that day in the out was literaly just a gate and a fence in the desert. the mine was off in the distance. we stood peacefully on ourside whilst they glared evilly from theirs. i witnessed a guy playing guitair circled and bashed for no apparent reason. the name slinging aside, i'm glad that compensation has been won, regardless of what happens. i just hope some goes to the adnyamathana who are continuously being harrassed by th police and the mines.