Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Pine Gap: peaceful protestors sentenced to fines, not gaol

Pine Gap protesters who entered top-secret Central Australia facility spared jail to avoid creating ‘martyr’ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-04/pine-gap-trespassers-not-jailed-to-avoid-creating-martyr/9223946

The group were charged under the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act, which carries a maximum of seven years in prison.

One of the group members, Andy Paine, faced another two years for carrying a smartphone onto the base.

But Justice John Reeves fined the group a total of $15,500.

While sentencing the oldest member of the group, Jim Dowling, 62, Justice Reeves expressed concern that Dowling had committed 27 similar trespass offences since 1986.

“If I imprison you, I think that would be likely to make you a martyr to your cause, rather than to underscore the law breaking in which you were involved,” he said.

Dowling was fined $5,000 as one of five people who entered Pine Gap on September 29, 2016.

In that group, Margaret Pestorius was fined $3,500, Andy Paine fined $2,500, while Franz Dowling and Tim Webb were fined $1,250.

The group told the court they went to sing a lament which several members of the group had composed in memory of people they believed had been killed by US drone strikes, with help from Pine Gap.

Paul Christie was fined $2,000 for also entering Pine Gap in a separate crime on October 3, 2016.

In sentencing Christie, Justice Reeves said his offence was at the lowest possible end of the spectrum.

He said Christie was arrested while holding a rattle and some flowers, while praying.

I do not accept the Crown’s submission that your offences potentially struck at the heart of national security,” Justice Reeves told the group.

“Your activities posed no real threat to the Pine Gap facility.”

The two separate trials in the NT Supreme Court lasted two weeks, with the Crown briefing a senior counsel to prosecute the matters.

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December 6, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, opposition to nuclear

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