Ringleader fined over Millmerran feedlot protest

Leah Whetton and Jessie Simpson-Ross fined over Millmerran feedlot vegan protest

Jessie Leigh Simpson-Ross and Leah Ava Whetton were fined in Toowoomba Magistrates Court.

Jessie Leigh Simpson-Ross and Leah Ava Whetton were fined in Toowoomba Magistrates Court.


An activist couple behind the vegan protest at Lemontree Feedlot have been fined.


An activist couple involved in a feedlot protest at Millmerran, including the ringleader, have been fined but their convictions have not been recorded.

The pair faced Toowoomba Magistrates Court on Thursday over the vegan protest at the McNamee family's Lemontree Feedlot, Millmerran.

Neither Jessie Leigh Simpson-Ross, 26, and Leah Ava Whetton, 29, appeared but both submitted letters to the court, signalling their intention to plead guilty and the matter was dealt with in their absence.

Police prosecutor Katherine Steele said the pair said they had been receiving intimidating phone calls and messages.

"On the weekend they emailed through copies of the abuse and the threats they've been receiving," she said.

"They say they've been followed home from court."

Ms Steele said Whetton led the group through a barbed wire fence onto the property on March 23.

The group entered the feeding lanes and walked around for about 30 minutes, taking photographs and video of the staff and animals.

Ms Steele said owner David McNamee confronted Whetton and yelled at her, "get off my country".

"The defendant ignored the verbal request and continued to walk about 100 people towards the feedlot," she said.

"The victim has stated the coordinated and unannounced attendance of the protestors and activists disrupted his business activities and created a dangerous environment for the animals and staff and could have created a large-scale... biosecurity hazard to the operation.

"The victim stated that he demanded the persons leave the premises on multiple occasions.

"He recalls the defendant telling him that she was going to expose the truth."

Ms Steele said police identified Whetton as the leader of the protest.

The court heard that police attended Whetton and Simpson-Ross' Margate address on April 4, where they did not locate the couple, but did find a flag used in the protest.

The couple were later found by police on April 5 and taken to the Redcliffe Police Station, where they were charged.

Due to the matter being dealt with in the defendants' absence, Magistrate Viviana Keegan could not look at criminal histories or record convictions.

Whetton was fined $1300, with no conviction recorded while Simpson-Ross was fined $1000, with no conviction recorded.

Ms Keegan said she considered it a particularly serious example of unlawfully entering farm land.

"By failing to leave, the group caused disruption to the business, a potential biosecurity hazard and of course police resources were required, costing the community money and depriving the community of those resources of police that could have been used elsewhere," she said.


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