Adani critic lays down weapons to avoid mammoth lawsuit
Adani's most outspoken critic has today backed down from his fight with the mining giant, offering to accede to a permanent gag order if the company drops its mammoth lawsuit against him.
Under the proposed permanent court order, environmental activist Benjamin Pennings would be forced to refrain from publishing statements promoting Galilee Blockade campaigns including the 'Dob in Adani' movement and ongoing targeting of the mine's contractors.
He would also be forced to cease inducing people to leak the mine's confidential information and using, copying or communicating any leaked material he already has or receives in the future.
The offer comes weeks after the mining giant sensationally launched landmark civil damages action against Mr Pennings who it claims has orchestrated a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation against the company for almost a decade, costing millions of dollars.
Mr Pennings today said while he ultimately believed he would be successful in the civil litigation, he wanted to settle the matter in the best interest of his family.
"I deny what Adani alleges against me in the civil action and do not believe that it will ultimately succeed," Mr Pennings said.
"But I have school aged children, a child with a disability and ageing parents who all rely on me.
"I am concerned Adani's civil action will stop me giving my elderly parents the financial assistance they need to move into supported accommodation."
Mr Pennings also accused the mining giant of misleading the public with a statement to the media last week in which it claimed Adani offered to drop the case.
"We have advised Mr Pennings that we would no longer pursue this legal matter if he made a permanent undertaking to: remove any online material related to the 'Dob in a Contractor' campaign, remove content from online channels that encourages the collation of confidential material about our business, and to stop what we allege is threatening behaviour towards our contractors and employees. Mr Pennings to date has not agreed to this undertaking and so we are proceeding with the civil case," the statement from Adani said.
But Mr Pennings today claimed that statement was not true.
"This is incorrect," he said.
"Before the first court hearing about the proposed injunction, I offered to give a permanent undertaking to do what Adani has told the media they are asking of me. I also agreed for that permanent undertaking to be enforceable through a court order, with possible criminal consequences if I broke it.
"It was simply cruel for my mother to hear that Adani's media statement was a lie."
Mr Pennings last week lost an injunction application by Adani which forced him to cease public attacks the company.
The order required Mr Pennings to remove online posts and campaigns harassing the mine, remove any online material related to the Dob in a Contractor campaign, remove content from online channels that encourages the collation of confidential material about our business, and to stop what Adani alleges is threatening behaviour towards its contractors and employees.
Mr Pennings today said he had complied with that order and he was now prepared to agree to a permanent court order if Adani and its Carmichael Rail Network agree to drop the civil lawsuit.
"I've written to Adani's lawyers to accept the permanent undertaking Adani proposed in the media that would gag me from saying what Adani doesn't like," he said.
"In fact, I accepted these terms two weeks ago. Yet, Adani seems determined to punish my family with a civil case that would threaten our family home for years."
Adani has been contacted for comment.
Originally published as Adani critic lays down weapons to avoid mammoth lawsuit