Anti-coal activist Jonathan Moylan was sentenced at a hearing of the Supreme Court in Sydney on July 25. He was sentenced to one year and eight months imprisonment, but was released immediately on a two-year good behaviour bond with $1000 surety.
Moylan was charged under the Corporations Act for issuing a press release on ANZ letterhead saying the bank had withdrawn its $1.2 billion loan facility from Whitehaven’s Maules Creek Coal Project on environmental and ethical grounds. Whitehaven’s share price temporarily fell before quickly recovering.
The judge noted that charges laid under the Corporations Act are usually for “personal gain”, that in this instance it was not the case and that any sentence imposed must be of a severity to match the nature of the offence.
He said that Moylan is “not a criminal in the classic sense” and therefore doesn’t need rehabilitation. In deciding the sentence he was mindful that there was a “need for a specific deterrence” and that the prank was successful in drawing media attention to the issue. He was satisfied that Moylan didn’t plan the drop in the Whitehaven share price and believed the hoax would be uncovered quickly.