Defendant 5: The Fall of the House of Gunns

By July 18, 2013 In production

Defendant 5: The Fall of the House of Gunns is a documentary webisode series supported by Metro Screen’s Breaks Story to Screen Program 2013. Directed by Heidi Lee Douglas. It is about a corporation that grows too big for its boots, tramples the communities and the people who fight back. It is a cautionary tale about the rising power of corporations, which, when left unchecked, threaten our environment and our right to freedom of speech.

The film is told through my eyes, as a filmmaker thrust into the eye of a storm when I was named Defendant 5 in a $6.4 million dollar litigation served by Tasmanian logging company Gunns Ltd on 20 defendants.

The defendants became known as the Gunns20 and over more than 5 years we experienced first hand the limitations of Australia’s justice system to protect our right to free speech and public participation.

I have been filming this story for over ten years and our team is now working hard to complete this film and lead a social change campaign to secure free speech in Australia.

Our upcoming event is a special forum to be held in Sydney on the 31st of July, Access to Justice and the Right to Public Participation – Lessons learned from the Gunns20 litigation.

We are hosting an expert panel to explore the important social issues raised by the Gunns20 court case. The case raises numerous cutting-edge issues for lawyers and non-lawyers alike interested in environmental justice, human rights and corporate responsibility.
This is a Continuing Legal Education event and practitioners can claim 2 CLE points for attendance. 

Speakers include Gunns20 Defense Counsel leader Mr Julian Burnside AO QC; Academic Sharon Beder, who’s research has focussed on how power relationships are maintained and challenged, particularly by corporations and professions; Dr Gerry Bates environmental law academic and former MP for Tasmania; and Mr Pepe Clarke, Chief Executive Officer for The Nature Conservation Council of NSW.

Date: Wednesday 31st July 2013

Time: 4.30pm to 7pm

Venue: Reserve Bank Building
Level 20, 65 Martin Place, Sydney

Cost: $50.00

Please RSVP to Ms Michelle Kearns by Wednesday 24 July 2013 at: or 02 8227 9600.  Numbers are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.

This event is supported by the Environment Planning and Law Association NSW and Sustainable Business Australia.

The forum includes a promotion of our film Defendant 5: The Fall of the House of Gunns. If attendees wish to support our film and its social change campaign information and facilities will be available on the night.

Please spread the word for us through your networks.