Posted on 16 Aug 2013
The Federal Circuit Court has today dismissed 18 criminal contempt of court charges against activist Bob Carnegie brought by construction company Abigroup Contractors, part of the Lendlease group.
Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie had also lodged an application to join in the contempt case.
The charges arose from a big industrial dispute at the Queensland Children’s Hospital Project in Brisbane from August to October 2012.
Mr Carnegie was charged with breaching a 5 September 2012 court order obtained by Abigroup.
Today’s decision of Judge Burnett follows four days of hearing in February and April this year.
Mr Carnegie originally faced 54 contempt charges but 36 charges were dismissed in February.
National head of industrial law at Slater and Gordon, Marcus Clayton, lawyer for Mr Carnegie, said he was very happy with the result.
“Bob has been through a lot so we are very pleased for him.
“Judge Burnett upheld our submission that the court order Bob was charged with breaching was not clear and unambiguous, and we are happy he accepted our point,” Mr Clayton said.
“It has long been a fundamental legal principle that you can’t be found guilty of contempt of a court order if the order isn’t clear.”
Mr Carnegie said he was very pleased with the outcome, and he thanked his legal team and his fellow workers for their support.
“It’s certainly been a tough time, but the support of workers and the community has made it easier,” he said.
Builders’ Labourers’ Federation State Secretary David Hanna said union members were very happy for Bob.
“Bob wouldn’t have got through this without the support of his fellow workers,” Mr Hanna said.
“I see this as a victory for common sense and a victory for the working class.”
Mr Clayton said an application would be made for an order that Abigroup pay Mr Carnegie’s substantial legal costs.