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To Western Australia, where a court has convicted and fined a high-profile climate activist who refused to give police access to her mobile phone and laptop, citing fears she would be sacked by her employer, the Australian Greens.

Joana Veronika Partyka, 38, previously pleaded not guilty in Perth Magistrates Court to two counts of failing to obey a data access order after she declined to give West Australian police access to her mobile phone and laptop.

Disrupt Burrup Hub protester Joana Partyka outside Perth Magistrates Court.Credit: Jesinta Burton.

They were seized from her apartment in March and allegedly contained confidential Australian Greens political information and a list of about 200,000 party donors.

Partyka told the court in September she asked her boss for permission to provide investigators with the pin and pass code to her devices but was told it would breach her employment contract.

Magistrate Andrew Maughan handed down his judgment today, saying Partyka’s “belief, although perhaps honestly held, was not objectively reasonable given the situation she found herself [in]” .

He said it was uncontentious that Partyka was subjected to an employment contract that stated she not disclose or discuss any Australian Greens information or data to any third party without their consent.

Partyka was previously convicted of criminal damage and fined after she spray-painted a Woodside Energy logo onto one of Australia’s most famous paintings – Frederick McCubbin’s work Down On His Luck – at the Art Gallery of WA in January.

Partyka, who is a campaigner for the Disrupt Burrup Hub group, was fined $1200 plus court costs.

Outside court, Partyka said she would probably appeal the convictions.

Her lawyer Zarah Burgess also said the police search warrant used to seize the devices was invalid because it failed to provide enough detail about the offences on which it was based, making the operation and the subsequent data access court order unlawful.

The Burrup Peninsula in WA’s Pilbara region contains the world’s largest and oldest collection of petroglyphs, a type of rock carving.

Disrupt Burrup Hub claims Woodside’s operations in the area and its proposed expansion form the biggest new fossil fuel project in the country and could produce billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2070.


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