Linc Energy, in liquidation, was not in court to defend the charges at the unusual trial.
Linc Energy, in liquidation, was not in court to defend the charges at the unusual trial. Alasdair Young

Linc pollution mega-trial finally wrapping up

A POLLUTION trial years in the making is finally wrapping up.

Who knew what and when at controversial company Linc Energy is now for jurors to decide.

Linc, in liquidation, faces five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental damage at Chinchilla.

The company was accused of causing damage at its underground coal gasification, or UCG sites.

On Day 48 of the trial, Judge Michael Shanahan summed the case up to jurors in Brisbane District Court.

Whether people got ill and the odours detected at the site were issues jurors had to put to one side.

For the charges of causing serious environmental harm to stack up, jurors must find Linc wilfully and unlawfully caused such damage.

The court heard one definition of "serious environmental harm” involved harm that cost more than $50,000 to clean up.

Judge Shanahan said jurors must decide if senior managers' decisions were decisions "of the corporation itself”.”

That was different from people acting merely as "agents” of the company, the judge added.

Jurors would have to assess any knowledge, omissions or responsibilities Linc decision-makers had.

Prosecutors said concerns were raised at various times with Linc leadership about the quality of cement and geological data at the site.

The Crown also claimed Linc used underground wells in ways that made them fail, and allowed contaminants to escape to places where Linc could not remove them.

Earlier in the trial, concrete pumper Robert Arnold said he saw 'black tar' seeping up at the site in 2007 and raised concerns with the company.

Later, geologist Dr Gary Love said he raised concerns about lack of data at an underground coal gasification site.

Jurors were also shown company emails.

One email showed two Linc operators reported feeling unwell after working in a wellhead in late 2007.

Other charges relate to events at the site in 2013.

The jury retired to consider the evidence on Friday afternoon -NewsRegional