Both have been charged with disobeying police directions regarding a road closure, which can result in a $2200 fine. Mr James said the pair were entering pleas of not guilty.
The legal challenge came after the president of the NSW Civil Liberties Council, Pauline Wright, said the bail conditions that the protesters were asked to sign were more commonly imposed on bikie gangs and those on terrorism charges.
“They’re disproportionate to the gravity of the offences with which these people were charged, which would carry a small fine if not a section 10 dismissal,” Ms Wright said.
The court heard police were concerned Ms Warner would commit a serious offence, while Mr Ludlam was feared to “endanger the safety” of victims or individuals in the community.
Wayne Law, acting for the police, said protesters had endangered their own safety by lying in the middle of the road just to “prove a point”.
He said the pair were fined because they had departed from the agreement between the protest organisers and police who allowed the rally to go ahead.
Mr James said the road was closed and there was no traffic.
Ms Mottley said the allegations against the pair were far from the most serious requiring bail conditions in the Local Court.
In the case of Mr Ludlam and Ms Warner, she said there didn’t appear to be any proper assessment of bail concerns when police set down the original conditions, which she quickly scrapped.
Outside court, NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge questioned whether such a legal challenge needed to be mounted repeatedly, “or will the police learn that the conditions should have never been imposed, they were done for a political outcome and they had no legal basis?”
“It’s about time the police obeyed the law and only impose bail conditions that were reasonable and necessary,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Mr Ludlam and Ms Warner will join several others arrested as part of the protests in fighting the fines they were issued during a hearing on November 7.
Mr James said outside the Downing Centre that he anticipated the court would hear arguments about the lawfulness of police behaviour, adding he may be asked to appear for many of the activists, “if not the whole lot.”
“One of the matters that will be raised in terms of the protests themselves and the conduct on the day in question, as well as the bail conditions, relates to whether they unreasonably restrict the implied constitutional right of political communication. Plainly, these protests were designed to communicate on political matters,” he said.
Angus Thompson is a court reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.