The Government has accused Linc Energy of allowing gas to leak uncontrollably from its Chinchilla plant.
The Government has accused Linc Energy of allowing gas to leak uncontrollably from its Chinchilla plant. Jim Campbell

Govt did not break law when raiding Linc offices: court

QUEENSLAND'S highest court has determined the environment department did not break the law when it confiscated evidence during a raid of Linc Energy's offices in 2013.

The department has accused Linc Energy of allowing gas to leak uncontrollably from its Chinchilla coal gasification plant.

The resources company has been charged with wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm between 2007 and 2013.

Earlier this year a Supreme Court justice determined the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection illegally seized back-up tapes and servers when officers executed a search warrant at Linc Energy offices in Brisbane and Chinchilla.

The department was ordered to return them to Linc Energy.

But the Queensland Court of Appeal reversed this decision on Friday and determined the department did not act unlawfully.

In the Court of Appeal judgment, Justice Robert Gotterson said Linc Energy argued the department needed to believe the material it seized was going to be of evidential value and was within the warrant; and that this was not the case for some items.

But the department's legal team argued the workers were able to seize items they felt were relevant to the warrant.

Justice Anthe Philippides, who was also on the Court of Appeal in this case, said in the judgment that the worker who seized the items from Linc Energy's offices believed the items contained relevant material.

"It cannot be accepted, as argued by (Linc Energy), that because the (storage) device and the back-up tapes also contained some material not of evidential value, those items could not be seized," she said.

- APN NEWSDESK



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