Activists receive hefty fines for Facebook Live inside Pinjarra piggery

James Warden, lawyer Chad Silver and Katrina Sobianina outside Mandurah Magistrates Court.
James Warden, lawyer Chad Silver and Katrina Sobianina outside Mandurah Magistrates Court.

TWO animal activists who filmed themselves inside GD Pork facility near Pinjarra last month received hefty fines when they appeared in Mandurah Magistrates Court today.

James Darren Warden (25) pleaded guilty to two counts of trespass and possessing a controlled weapon.

Katrina Sobianina pleaded guilty to trespass.

Protesters outside the court.

Police prosecutor Neville Palmer said the pair were from Direct Action Everywhere Perth group.

He said Warden trespassed on the premises of two primary producers and live streamed inside the premises on Facebook.

 

Sergeant Palmer said it was a biosecurity risk when Warden and Sobianina trespassed on the piggery near Pinjarra because the disposable overalls they wore were taken from the scene.

Sgt Palmer police later found OC spray at Warden’s house on February 26.

Protesters supporting James Warden and Katrina Sobianina.

Warden’s lawyer Chad Silver said in the first trespass Warden drove into the property, ignored the signs and published media of the animals. He left the premises when requested.

Mr Silver said Warden was with Sobianina on February 24 and broadcast the piggery live for about 90 minutes and then they left on their own accord.

The court was told the piggery and Warden had received death threats after the incident.

Lawyer Clare Hay said Sobianina had only been involved with the action group for six months and risked losing her job as a croupier at the casino.

“Her passion for what she believed in overcame her sense,” Ms Hay said.

When sentencing Warden, Magistrate Geoffery Lawrence said people were entitled to their beliefs but they were not entitled to breaking the law.

“This was a brazen breaking of the law,” he said.

Direct Action Everywhere Perth members.

“There are high emotions, but the court can’t deal in emotions.”

Mr Lawrence said while the incident was far away from the activities in New Zealand, there was an irony to the live broadcasts from the piggery.

“They want to encourage others to join in their convictions,” he said.

Mr Lawrence described Warden’s behaviour as reckless to the community and Warden had little consideration for the owners running a lawful business.

Mr Lawrence said Sobianina’s involvement was carelessly undertaken, foolish and clearly against the law.

He fined Warden $7000 with $355 costs. Sovianina was fined $3000 and $107 costs. Sobianina was granted a spent conviction.