May 082013

Waihopai Ploughshares Court of Appeal hearing

On 30 April 2008, a Christian Ploughshares team – Adrian Leason, Father Peter Murnane and Sam Land – entered the grounds of the NZ Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) / US National Security Agency spy base at Waihopai and punctured the dome covering one of the two antenna to disable and draw attention to the role of the base – part of the US governments global spy network – in the ‘war on terrorism’. They then built a shrine and prayed for the victims of the war with no end while waiting to be arrested.

In March 2010, after an eight day trial, the Waihopai Ploughshares were acquitted by the jury. In response, in October 2010, the Attorney-General lodged a civil claim for $1.2 million, on behalf of the GCSB. In August 2011, following a hearing in the High Court in Wellington, Associate Judge David Gendall issued a summary judgement awarding $1.2 million damages in the government’s favour, as well as court costs. A more detailed chronology of these events is included below.

Last year, the Waihopai Ploughshares lodged an appeal against the High Court decision, and the appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeal in Wellington on Wednesday, 8 and Thursday, 9 May 2013.

The outcome of the appeal has wide implications for justice here: if the High Court decision stands, it makes it more likely that if the Crown is dissatisfied with the outcome of a trial, it will initiate costly civil proceedings against defendants who have been found not guilty – this would have particularly negative implications for anyone acting on their conscience who engages in a citizen’s disarmament action.

More information here

  One Response to “Waihopai Ploughshares Court of Appeal hearing,”

  1. The only way the government can “win” credibility here, is if they paint the three activists as dirty good-for-nothing hippies. The upper-middle class always falls for that trick, every time. Fortunately with the increase in awareness and scepticism we can often undo these dirty character assassination techniques. Surely the government can just print another million to replace the cost of the dome? Better yet, dismantle the base entirely. That would be more economical.