An environmentalist charged with issuing a hoax press release about a mining company could end up facing the Supreme Court.
Prosecutors in the case against Jonathan Moylan, who is accused of causing hundreds of millions of dollars to be wiped off the value of Whitehaven Coal earlier this year, are seeking consent to have the case heard in the Supreme Court, the Downing Centre Local Court heard yesterday.
In January, Moylan, 25, allegedly sent a press release to media outlets claiming ANZ Bank had withdrawn a $1.2 billion loan from Whitehaven’s Maules Creek open cut coalmine on ethical grounds.
The media release bore the ANZ Bank logo, and the hoax allegedly temporarily wiped $314 million from the miner’s share price.
Moylan has been charged with making a false or misleading statement and faces a maximum fine of almost $500,000 or a potential 10-year jail term.
He has not yet entered a plea and court documents showed he is expected to waive his right to a committal hearing.
Magistrate Mark Buscombe adjourned the matter until later this month for a hearing on the Supreme Court application.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside court in support of Moylan, who remains on bail.
Frontline Action on Coal is accusing Whitehaven of planning to destroy 1360ha of koala habitat and forcing farmers off their land through soil
damage from its flagship Maules Creek project near Boggabri.