Patrick Coleman made a speech in Townsville’s pedestrian mall without a permit, in breach of a local government by-law. He was fined and subsequently detained by police for 5 days for non-payment of the fine. The UN Human Rights Committee found that his speech was on subjects of public interest (human rights, land rights and mining) and his conduct was neither threatening nor unduly disruptive. His arrest, conviction and imprisonment were ‘disproportionate’ and ‘undoubtedly’ a violation of his right to freedom of expression. Australia is required to quash his conviction, refund his fines or court costs (nearly $3,000) and compensate him for his imprisonment. It has done none of these.
Read more about the Coleman case.