August 17, 2021

The Crown has dropped charges against four former executives of Linc Energy over the company’s failed underground coal gasification project near Chinchilla.

Former chief executive Peter Bond and Donald Schofield, Stephen Dumble and Daryl Rattai were charged in 2016 with failing to ensure a corporation complies with an Act.

They were committed to stand trial in March last year, and the matter was due to be heard in the Brisbane District Court this month.

Crown Prosecutor Ralph Devlin QC told the court on Tuesday the Crown would not be proceeding with the indictment.

A spokesperson for the DPP said the decision to discontinue the prosecution of the four former executive officers of Linc Energy Limited was made on the basis the available evidence, particularly in the context of the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in R v Dumble & Ors [2021] QCA 161, was such that there were no longer reasonable prospects of convictions.

A decision was made to discontinue the prosecution of a fifth executive, Jacobus Terblanche, on August 28 last year on the basis there was no reasonable prospect of a conviction; he was not the subject of the indictment.

Linc Energy, the operators of the Hopeland UCG site, was placed into liquidation in May 2016 with debts of about $289 million.

This followed legal action by the State Government against the company.

In April 2018, a jury found the company guilty of five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm.

The District Court judge imposed fines totalling $4.5 million on the company.

[UPDATED]

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