Waihopai Ploughshares Court of Appeal hearing,
This page has information about the Waihopai Ploughshares Court of Appeal hearing in Wellington next week; details of the Waihopai Ploughshares support vigil at St Andrew's which begins later today; how you can send a message of support to Waihopai Ploughshares; and the chronology of events that have led to the hearing next week. This information is available on Facebook here.
* 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.
* Waihopai Ploughshares support vigil, 3 to 9 May 2013
EnemyLove Part II - six days and nights of fasting and prayer in solidarity with Waihopai Ploughshares - begins at St Andrew's on the Terrace, 30 The Terrace, Wellington, from 2pm on Friday, 3 May 2013.
Exploring gentleness, vulnerability, prayer and enemy love in the service of a non-violent engagement with the discipleship queries of our age. Come and join our inclusive community of peace and love; remembering in prayer all the victims of war, rendition and torture. Join us in fasting and prayer for whistle-blowers and peacemakers everywhere, as well as our brothers and sisters caught up in violent conflict.
Come with contributions for the peace shrine and thoughts towards the clarification of enemy love - all welcome. Starting on every second hour (8am, 10am, 12 noon, 2pm etc) there will be a short prayer liturgy for about 15 minutes. In the times between prayer, there will be Christian meditation, Taize, reading, discussion of peace texts, and so on. Open to the public between 8am and 10pm from Friday, 3 May to Thursday, 9 May.
Please note: if you are planning on joining the Waihopai Ploughshares vigil at St Andrew's, please go into the church quietly so as not to disturb the regular events held there, and if there is no-one by the peace shrine in the back left corner, please check the whiteboard at the church entrance for details of which room the vigil is in, thank you.
The poster, with full details of the vigil is available here and updates will be added to this page as the fast and the Court of Appeal hearing progresses.
* How you can send a message of support to Waihopai Ploughshares
If you would like to send a message of support to Waihopai Ploughshares, please email to Peace Movement Aotearoa, with the subject heading 'Waihopai Ploughshares support', and we will pass it on, thank you.
* Waihopai Ploughshares: chronology of events
On 30 April 2008, the Waihopai Ploughshares - Adrian Leason, Fr 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. Their statement is available here.
The Waihopai Ploughshares trial started on 8 March 2010. Their defence was based on 'claim of right' (widely misreported by the media as a necessity defence) and on 17 March 2010, the trial jury acquitted the three defendants. An overview of the trial with links to more information is available here.
On 7 April 2010, the Attorney-General announced that the government would not appeal the verdict, but was considering suing Waihopai Ploughshares for (at that time) $1.1 million.
In October 2010, the Attorney-General lodged a civil claim for $1.2 million, on behalf of the GSCB - see for example, '$1.2m Crown seeking includes beer, pies'.
On 3 November 2010, the government announced that it would be limiting the 'claim of right' defence so that it could not be used in similar circumstances in future.
On 8 August 2011, there was an all-day hearing in the High Court as to whether the government would be awarded summary judgement of $1.2 million damages for the costs of repair of the spy base dome (and food and drink for the workers who repaired it) or whether the matter would proceed to trial - the decision hinged around whether or not the judge considered the three defendants had a chance of successfully arguing a case against the awarding of damages to the government. A brief overview of the defence case, which was based in part on the defences of necessity and self-defence / defence of another and in part on ex turpi causa, is available here.
Associate Judge David Gendall's decision was released on 31 August 2011. His judgement was that the defence did not have a case, and that summary judgement of $1.2 million damages was therefore awarded in the government's favour, as well as court costs. The media release from Adrian Leason in response is available here (Facebook) and on this web page.
In 2012, Waihopai Ploughshares appealed the High Court decision, and the Court of Appeal hearing will be held in Wellington on 8 and 9 May 2013.
This chronology is available on Facebook here.