National

Action against Chinese diplomat dismissed

By AAP Newswire

Legal action by a student activist suing China's Brisbane consul-general has been dismissed, with a magistrate ruling he has diplomatic immunity.

Beijing critic Drew Pavlou made an application under Queensland's Peace and Good Behaviour Act complaining that Xu Jie had incited violence against him.

The complaint followed a protest at University of Queensland during which the Mr Pavlou was assaulted twice, his barrister Tony Morris QC told Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.

Dr Xu issued a press release after the confrontation, which Mr Morris said incites violence against Mr Pavlou.

The release refers to "a small number of people with ulterior motives" carrying out anti-separatist China activities at the University of Queensland.

The release said the action caused "indignation and protest from overseas Chinese students".

Dr Xu was issued a summons in response to Mr Pavlou's complaint, but failed to appear in court or send a legal representative.

Instead the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade wrote to the court saying Dr Xu was entitled to immunity because he is a consular employee.

Magistrate Janelle Brassington on Monday dismissed Mr Pavlou's application after ruling Dr Xu has immunity because he was performing the functions of a consular officer.

Ms Brassington said she was satisfied the release was issued "in the exercise of his consular function".

As a result, it did not fall under the court's jurisdiction.

Outside court Mr Morris told reporters the law had been applied fairly and impartially.

"All Drew and his supporters have been trying to do is to secure for the people of Hong Kong that same benefit - the benefit of courts that ... decide cases on the basis of law and the evidence rather than what their masters tell them to," he said.

Mr Morris added that the outcome meant the "misconduct of the Chinese consul-general" was not an issue to be decided in court.

"It's a political issue to be decided by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs," Mr Morris told reporters.

Mr Pavlou was suspended in May from the University of Queensland following a disciplinary hearing that examined misconduct allegations reportedly linked to his on-campus activism supporting Hong Kong and criticising the Chinese Community Party.

Dr Xu is also an adjunct professor at the university.