A UNION official has again been cleared of illegally entering the Royal Hobart Hospital construction site despite the overturning of a magistrate’s decision that had found he had no case to answer.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (Tasmania) organiser William Thomas Charles White was charged with trespass after refusing to leave the worksite in July 2012.
At the time, site managers Fairbrother and Hazell Brothers told Mr White to leave because he failed to give 24 hours’ notice of his attendance. Police attended and Mr White was arrested after refusing to leave.
At the Hobart Magistrates Court, he pleaded not guilty while about 50 trade unionists rallied outside in support.
In the court, Mr White’s lawyer submitted that his client had no case to answer because it was unclear who controlled the worksite.
Magistrate Catherine Rheinberger agreed and the case was thrown out.
The Director of Public Prosecutions appealed the decision and the case went to the Supreme Court before Justice Helen Wood.
Justice Wood found Fairbrother and Hazell Bros staff were in charge and had actual authority to exclude people from the site.
Ms Rheinberger’s decision was overturned.
However, Justice Wood dismissed the appeal, noting no substantial miscarriage of justice has occurred due to the magistrate’s error.
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