One of the nine people charged after carrying out a protest at Southern Meats abattoir on April 8 has appeared in Goulburn Local Court.
She was convicted and heavily fined.
Gabrielle Mace, 28, of Sydney pleaded guilty to charges of entering inclosed lands and interfering with the conduct of business and hindering police when she appeared in Goulburn Local Court today.
Previously Police Chief Inspector John Sheehan had told the Goulburn Post that at 4.20am on April 8 they were called to Southern Meats.
"We were first called by Southern Meats at 4.20am to attend due to reports of people trespassing," Chief Insp Sheehan said.
"We attended and located nine people who had locked themselves onto one of the conveyor belts and who refused to leave after being requested to by police.
"They had chained themselves to the machinery using PVC piping. They were locked in. We called Police Rescue to remove them safely before they were arrested and charged."
In court, Ms Mace's solicitor Adrian McKenna said his client "is passionate about animal rights and has helped re-home hundreds of greyhounds."
"She concedes her act of trespassing on a business premises has crossed a line," her solicitor said.
"She deeply regrets her actions on that day and she was only asked to join in the action on the night before by her then partner.
"The hindering of the police is that when she was informed she was under arrest she failed to remove herself from the chains voluntarily.
"We concede it was frustrating for the police who had to attend that morning."
Mr McKenna referred to a quote from Southern Meats general manager Craig Newton in a Goulburn Post story that day, in which Mr Newton claimed there had been minimal disruption because the protest occurred before the start of the morning shift.
Mr McKenna said his client was 28 years old with no prior criminal history.
"She is very unlikely to return to court," he said.
He asked that no conviction be recorded.
The police prosecutor said the offence required that a conviction be recorded for general deterrence.
"She went onto private property and chained herself to a conveyor belt," the prosecutor said,
"It is important for people engaging in this type of behaviour - that a message is sent to the community that it should not be tolerated.
"The pipes had to be cut by Police Rescue."
Magistrate Geraldine Beattie weighed up the arguments for and against conviction but decided to convict Ms Mace.
"The business that day only continued as usual because the police and Police Rescue attended and cut the pipes," Ms Beattie said.
She also referred to a signed letter from Mr Newton to the court stating that 26 units of production had indeed been lost that day.
"This letter claims that the businesses suffered a loss of just under $5000," she said.
"I do not accept it was a trivial offence.
"You and eight others attended Southern Meats through the front gate that day at 2am. By 4am it was observed that members of the group had chained themselves to a conveyor belt.
"You were asked to leave the premises but refused and the police and Police Rescue had to be called to cut the chains.
"I need to factor in general deterrence of this behaviour and send a clear message to the community."
She convicted Mace and fined her a total of $1650.
She also ordered that she pay $621 compensation to Southern Meats and $52 to NSW Police.
Her Solicitor Adrian Mckenna made a comment on her behalf after the sentencing.
"Ms Mace is disappointed with the outcome but she completely respects the court' decision," he said.
"It was a very carefully considered decision and we made out arguments as respectfully and forcefully as we could.
"She is now considering her options for an appeal."
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