Waihopai Three: can't pay, won't pay
Thu, 01 Sep 2011 6:43a.m.
By 3news.co.nz staff
The Waihopai Three will be back in court today, appealing after the Crown was awarded the right to pursue damages against them.
Last year, priest Peter Murnane, teacher Adrian Leason and farmer Sam Land were found not guilty of burglary and wilful damage after they broke in to the Waihopai spy base in 2008 and slashed one of two inflatable domes.
They did it because they believed that by disabling the spy base, run by the Government Communications Security Bureau, they would be saving lives in Iraq.
The Wellington High Court has granted the Crown the right to seek US$1.2 million for the cost of replacing the dome.
Last night, Associate Judge David Gendall said letting them get away with the damage would be a "mask for anarchy".
"he notion that the court might exonerate vigilante action is highly problematic," he said. "To take this approach, as I see it, would inevitably lead to unacceptable precedents being set in a range of areas."
In the trial the trio used the “claim of right” defence, saying they damaged the satellites to save lives in Iraq.
“I’m a pensioner so they might just dock my pension for the next 500 years but I don’t think I will last that long," Mr Murnane said in August.
Mr Leason says he has no moral obligation to pay the bill and it’s his effort to “inspire in the judge a sense of curiosity in the law and a curiosity that secrecy is not ok.
"We don’t keep secrets in New Zealand”.
Father Murnane told the Dominion Post even if they were made to pay up, they wouldn't.
"We're not running anywhere: we'll simply turn out our pockets and say `You're claiming it costing $1.2m, and if it does – and that's a big if – the fact is we have no money, nor would we pay."'
He says if the Government's spy agency was able to prove the communications base was not being used to assist the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, they'd do a "whip around" and put things right.
"If we're in error and our sources are wrong and we've been misled, then that's our problem and I'm sure we'll be able to do a whip-around and put things right.
"I'm not asking for everyone to start singing Kumbaya and play happy families ... but what we can hope for is a reasonable level of transparency around the Iraq war in particular."
Green Party MP Keith Locke has backed the three peace activists, saying the Crown is just being "vindictive" after losing the initial case.
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5/09/2011 12:05:15 p.m.
Judy, a few years ago I would have described you as a naive fool. Now your stand is just reckless, no, cowardly, given the global terrorist activity. Evil only requires good people to do nothing to thrive. Keep doing nothing Judy, and thanks for the help. I wonder how you will like the burqa you will be made to wear.
1/09/2011 11:52:49 p.m.
Interesting that Keith Locke supported the war in Afghanistan when the Soviets were doing it and yet was against it when the Americans (helped by NZ) did.Hypocrite.
1/09/2011 8:56:50 p.m.
They know right from wrong do the crime pay for it.
1/09/2011 8:48:27 p.m.
The old saying is you cant get blood from stone,But they should have to break stone and brick too draw blood on their hands.And there is plenty of stone and brick to break down here in Christchurch.
1/09/2011 7:11:24 p.m.
I also applaud this trio.I don't like spy bases,or support war, we are over controlled any way.The court is just throwing more money away with court time that will result in zero return , rednecks.
1/09/2011 6:05:43 p.m.
Oh Judy, the lone voice in support of vandals. You don't feel that people who go about destroying other peoples property (for whatever reason) should be held accountable? You don't believe in the rule of law? You feel anarchy is the way forward for NZ and our people? Perhaps you also feel that to evade penalties imposed should also be part of our society. What sort of country do you envisage. You don't agree with something so you can go ahead and destroy it? If you applaud these persons actions then that reflects poorly on you.
1/09/2011 4:53:12 p.m.
And if you dont pay up then you go to jail.Ta Nah!!
1/09/2011 3:03:47 p.m.
What makes these 3 wackos believe they are above the law?You intentionally damage someone elses property, regardless of the reason, you pay for it. These idiots/losers should have been jailed. The law is/was an ass.
1/09/2011 3:01:43 p.m.
So presumably farmer Sam Land won't mind if his farm is razed by vegetarian activists, and priest Peter Murnane will be happy for the victims of paedophile priests to burn down Catholic churches etc - all in the name of protecting the innocent! Or do they reserve their divine right to destroy the property of those who they believe to be wrong for themselves only?
1/09/2011 1:19:16 p.m.
Another- my right is bigger than your right- so i can do as i like! Not on my place you cant,not without paying--now damnit dont complain!
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