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War between Adani and activist over secret information returns to court


A legal battle between a vocal activist and mining giant Adani over the controversial Carmichael project has returned to a Brisbane court.

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Adani, now known as Bravus, claims Galilee Blockade protest campaign founder Ben Pennings unlawfully obtained sensitive and confidential information later used in the campaign to harass contractors and suppliers.

Adani alleges there was an actual or threatened misuse of the information that was not publicly available.

In legal action started about a year ago the company is asking for the court to restrain Pennings from publishing confidential information or continuing to seek such material.

Adani claims it will suffer losses if construction is disrupted or contractors have to be paid more to compensate for loss and disruption by the activists.

The matter was the subject of a one-day hearing in Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday.

Pennings’ lawyer Kiera Peacock says that while Adani claimed the activist had taken its confidential information, the company couldn’t say what that information actually is.

“This makes it very difficult for Ben to defend the case, a tension the parties will be asking the court to resolve,” she said in a statement.

Pennings says Adani has dragged his family through “through 12 months of harrowing Supreme Court litigation” while not having evidence to back its claims.

“Lawsuits against peaceful protesters are an affront to democracy,” he said in a statement.

“So long as Adani threatens my family and the environment we all share I will do everything lawfully in my powers to stop them.”

But Adani says it has taken action against Pennings to enforce the company’s rights and allow employees and contractors to “carry out legal and legitimate business activities free from intimidation and harassment continue”.

“We allege Mr Pennings has orchestrated a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation against Adani’s business, employees, contractors and potential business partners spanning almost a decade,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson said Adani is asking the court to order Pennings provide it with the information gathered through his campaigns.

Pennings was earlier ordered to pay some of Adani’s costs for part of the legal proceedings.


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