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USyd Law Professor’s protest charge dropped

A number of student protestors who are contesting their fines are yet to have their cases resolved.

Professor Simon Rice, the Chair of Law and Social Justice at the University of Sydney Law School, has had his charge of disobeying a direction of the Public Health Act dropped. 

Professor Rice was charged with the offence, which carries a $1000 fine, after he was tackled to the ground by police while observing a protest against education cuts in October last year. 

At the time, protestors were prevented from gathering in large groups by COVID restrictions, which were often violently enforced

Professor Rice had argued that he could not be “in company” with protesters, since he was there as an independent observer.

He further argued that his attendance at the protest was part of his work “teaching and supervising protest research.” Work was an exception to the Public Health Order.

Professor Rice told Honi that “the climate protests last week showed that police are still prepared to be violent in dealing with protesters.”

A number of student protestors who are contesting their fines are yet to have their cases resolved.