Waihopai Three acquitted

March 17th, 2010 at 6:18 pm by David Farrar

TVNZ reports:

Three men accused of breaking in to the spy case near Blenheim and damaging a protective dome have been found not guily.

The jury returned the verdict on Wednesday night. They were found not guilty on all three charges.

Adrian Leason, a teacher, Dominican friar Peter Murnane and farmer Sam Land pleaded not guilty in Wellington District Court to one count of burglary and two of wilful damage at the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) facility. …

In his closing arguments, Leason’s lawyer Michael Knowles said the men were driven by a belief that the satellite caused human suffering and their actions to shut it down, if only temporarily, were lawful.

“That belief doesn’t have to be correct,” he said.

“They had a belief in a higher law, a law for protecting people.”

I’m not totally surprised at this, even though I disagree. Bryan Law’s updates on Scoop and other blogs, had indicated that the jury seemed quite sympathetic to the defendents.

I think the verdict reflects that many NZers do not like spy stations, regardless of the actual applicable law.

What will be interesting is if this sets out a spate of attacks on properties by protesters, who will hope for a similar outcome.

As for Waihopai, they may need to invest in some extra guards with tasers!

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173 Responses to “Waihopai Three acquitted”

  1. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    how cool is that..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  2. Fisiani (1,040 comments) says:

    Obviously a rogue jury who chose to simply ignore the law.

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  3. eszett (2,417 comments) says:

    Not sure if it’s that cool.

    It’s one of those verdicts that will be hard to communicate and understand, I can see the post already saying “what a joke the NZ justice system is”.

    Personally I disagree with the verdict, but nevertheless, they were found not guilty by the jurors, so we will have to accept it.

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  4. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    Those losers cost the tax-payer millions of dollars! And they get away with it?!? Because people find those dome covers creepy!! Those disgusting ugly stoners (the criminals and the jury).

    “They had a belief in a higher law, a law for protecting people.”

    So if I burned down Brian Tamaki Church, I could say I was protecting people and get away with it?

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  5. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    ” Lawyers admitted the men attacked the base but said they were driven by a belief that the satellite caused human suffering and their actions to shut it down, if only temporarily, were lawful.

    “That belief doesn’t have to be correct,” one said. ”

    so if someone breaks into my house and I believe they may be a potential murderer I can shoot them?

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  6. wreck1080 (3,924 comments) says:

    How bizarre. I never would have picked this outcome.

    It’s a strange world out there, 1 + 1 does not equal 2.

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  7. Biomag83 (94 comments) says:

    Any chance the crown will appeal? I hope they do.
    This ruling couild justify me burning down an abortion provider. Whats stopping them from going back and destroying the dome again?

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  8. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    Not sure what to make of this, hopefully the government doesn’t wig out over it.

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  9. Brian Marshall (202 comments) says:

    Yes HJ.
    But you can do that anyway as long as you belive what you are doing is the minimal to protect life or prevent bodily harm.
    (It’s the same law that covers police when they shoot someone).

    I do not belive that these guys truely belive that crap though. They would have just concocted it as a defence for their treason.

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  10. Fletch (6,410 comments) says:

    Most disappointing.

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  11. Viking2 (11,491 comments) says:

    Don’t expect the Nats to do anything about it. They are just to weak to do anything right.

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  12. David in Chch (519 comments) says:

    So, philu, you think it’s cool. But there is the Law of Unintended Consequences, and the suggestions in the comments above are just the tip of the iceberg! Be careful what you wish for. And before you suggest that the comments above about what could or could not be done as silly or still illegal – that is the result of this decision. It would appear that anyone can do anything so long as they believe hard enough!

    And the result could be judicial chaos.

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  13. Fletch (6,410 comments) says:

    Why-hope-I for any justice being done in this case?
    I don’t know…
    Strange jury.

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  14. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Common sense is that breaking into someone else’s property with the intention to destroy or damage property that doesn’t belong to you is not excusable. They should have been convicted and imprisoned.

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  15. eszett (2,417 comments) says:

    It is disappointing, indeed.

    Especially the justification around that they believed something to be true, even if it wasn’t.
    Why did they not take their time and verify their beliefs then?

    The main difference between a home intruder is that you don’t really have the time to verify whether you assumption that he is a threat is true so you act on those beliefs. But here? Couldn’t they have done a little more research?

    I think that verdict was influenced because it was against a spy-dome. and by the fact that it was low level violence. Not like blowing up a building.

    Nevertheless, I don’t think there should be an appeal. There is a strong possibility that it will be the same outcome.

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  16. Repton (769 comments) says:

    that is the result of this decision. It would appear that anyone can do anything so long as they believe hard enough!

    I doubt that.

    One, the news report seems to imply that you can legally commit some crimes (vandalism?) if you believe it will save lives. The “save lives” bit seems to be important.

    Two, it’s a news report. Are you really relying on the mainstream media for a nuanced and informative report on a legal decision? At the very least, it would be interesting to know what instructions the judge gave the jury..

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  17. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Don’t expect the Nats to do anything about it. They are just to weak to do anything right.

    Yeah, we need strong government that’s not afraid to overturn court decisions.

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  18. lofty (1,316 comments) says:

    Speaks volumes about how far left our beautiful country has gone.
    Shocking decision, that lets vandals get off scot free.

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  19. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Spooky when you put this into context;
    “the men were driven by a belief that ……..?……… caused human suffering and their actions to shut it down if only temporarily, were lawful”

    particularly as one of these vandals is a dominican friar. Consider what else he may now think lawful to willfully damage – if it goes against his “beliefs”

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  20. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    Sooooo…. they DIDNT trespass and damage property?

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  21. George Patton (349 comments) says:

    A disgusting decision.

    They should have been found guilty, and if the crime was trivial enough to have merited a joke sentence (IE, time already served, 1 day in prison, or a fine) then that would have been the appropriate way to have punished them for damaging state property.

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  22. big bruv (13,935 comments) says:

    First David Bain gets away with killing his entire family and now these low life get away scott free with a crime they admitted committing.

    What the fuck is wrong with this stupid little country?

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  23. David in Chch (519 comments) says:

    Repton – two of the accused (now acquitted) were on TV3. It didn’t sound any different. And as for “saves lives” – you obviously didn’t bother to actually read any of the suggestions that preceded my comment. It still stands!

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  24. Southern Raider (1,831 comments) says:

    Problem is intelligent people are too busy to take time off work for jury duty. So the cosequence is you get idiots.

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  25. virtualmark (1,531 comments) says:

    This strikes me as being such an aberrant judgement that the Crown simply has to appeal it. If these guys really weren’t guilty of wilful damage then we need to redefine what wilful damage is.

    For all the jury may have felt sympathies for the offenders their responsibility is to judge against the law, not against their own emotions and prejudices. The jury needs to have faith in the judge to reflect society’s views via the sentencing, not wish away the problem with a decision that flies in the face of common sense.

    And as for the line the defence ran … that, basically, anything is excusable if you think your actions are against some vague undefined non-specific human suffering. Firstly, if that’s true then it sets a dangerous precedent. Secondly, was the prosecution inept or just asleep?

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  26. Southern Raider (1,831 comments) says:

    Big Bruv. Massive difference between the two cases. David Bain never admitted to doing anything.

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  27. virtualmark (1,531 comments) says:

    If this judgement is good law then presumably that means I can burn down a warehouse full of cigarettes, without fear of legal punishment? Heck, maybe I could legally attack any brewery in the country too. And don’t get me started on what I’d do with the casinos.

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  28. radvad (767 comments) says:

    DPF, there seems to be a wide disparity between your opinion of the vandals who destroyed the St Matthews-in-the-City sign and these vandals.

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  29. radvad (767 comments) says:

    They should have been found guilty and made to compensate for the damage they caused.

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  30. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    I hope God can defend NZ, cause it seems the *majority of* people living there dont give a flying fuck.

    *added

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  31. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    “I think the verdict reflects that many NZers do not like spy stations, regardless of the actual applicable law.”

    I think it also reflects public ignorance about why we have such places. Its kind of hard to have an informed opinion about something when you have no, accurate, information to go on. What does not help is what I can only regard as Nationals intellectual slovenliness on matters defense, intelligence and security, thus ceding the political initiative to the likes of the ‘Waihopi three’, Labour, Greens etc.
    There is so little informed debate on such matters, especially of a strategic nature, thus ensuring that the only ‘information’ a skeptical, but ignorant, public is left with is left wing spin.
    Can there be any wonder at this court verdict?

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  32. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Hmm wait – the law of unintended consequences….

    I believe drug dealers are causing immense human sufferring, and I believe in protecting others….

    I can just imaging d4j putting on his skin tight pink leotard and black undies (outside of course) and running down the street shouting “HERE I COME TO SAVE THE DAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!!”

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  33. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    So if I break the law, but I say I didn’t know it was illegal, I can get away with it?

    brb, going to dse.

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  34. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    So if I break the law, but I say I didn’t know it was illegal, I can get away with it?

    No, you’ve got to say that you believe in a higher power and that you were protecting other by your actions.

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  35. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    As much as I hated that bitch Klark, and never want to see her set foot in this country again….. She would’ve been all over Crown Law tomorrow making sure they appeal this lack of conviction of these FUCKING TERRORISTS!

    Not saying that I want Key doing the same thing, but I definitely want to see an appeal and these sods sent away for a very long time. The message this non-conviction sends is so open ended it doesn’t bear thinking about.

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  36. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    On Campbell live one of the composts said they wouldn’t do it again as “now more people know about what the spybase does”

    which seems to contradict the notion that they felt they had to stop the bases operation to prevent harm to people as that situation hasn’t changed. Oh! I don’t suppose it was a protest rather than a genuine attempt to stop the base “harming people”? This would give people who are opposed to abortion a strong precedent to burn or bomb an abortion clinic.

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  37. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Well the 3 defendents are free to pop the other one.. Double Jeopardy.

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  38. kiwireader (45 comments) says:

    Stuart, Bevan, mattyroo, agree with you completely.

    I believe P-dealers are harming lives, but what would happen if I went beserk with a machine gun on them? Jury must have been brainwashed tree-huggers. How demoralising.

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  39. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    As much as I hated that bitch Klark and never want to see her set foot in this country again….. She would’ve been all over Crown Law tomorrow making sure they appeal this lack of conviction of these FUCKING TERRORISTS!

    Couldnt agree more – I oppose everything about Helen Clark in regard to her economical and social stances – but at least she had BALLS! She wouldnt stand for this shit.

    Either Key needs to find some testicular fortitude, or Im changing my Bring Back Buck sign.

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  40. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    So all three of them were Labour party members then ?

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  41. James Stephenson (2,191 comments) says:

    That’s a green light for breaking into the local mosque and smashing it up to highlight the treatment of Christians in Morrocco then…let’s see…wine bottles, petrol, rags, matches…

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  42. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Any chance the crown will appeal? I hope they do.

    No chance at all.

    The circumstances in which the Crown can appeal are very very limited. They can’t just challenge a verdict they don’t like.

    if someone breaks into my house and I believe they may be a potential murderer I can shoot them?

    If you believe someone is going to murder you or your family (and that belief isn’t caused by insanity), you are justified in using reasonable force (which may, depending on the circumstances, include lethal force) to protect yourself and others, even if your belief was completely mistaken, and no reasonable person would have formed that belief.

    This would give people who are opposed to abortion a strong precedent to burn or bomb an abortion clinic.

    No it wouldn’t. Claim of right – the legal concept upon which the defence was based – only applies to property crimes.

    So if I break the law, but I say I didn’t know it was illegal, I can get away with it?

    No. It depends on the reason why you thought what you were doing was illegal. If you steal a car, and didn’t know the stealing was a crime, that’s not a defence. If you steal a car because you thought it was your car, even though it wasn’t, that is a defence.

    I think that verdict was influenced because it was against a spy-dome. and by the fact that it was low level violence. Not like blowing up a building.

    It wasn’t violent at all. Destructive? Yes. Violent? No.

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  43. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    Being a left footer (church wise only) and that …………… is in my patch it will be a dark day before I attend one of his services.
    Another reason not to turn up not that I need to many excuses to sleep in.

    Bloody fool needs reeducation

    From

    One ex proficient latin educated and speaker alter boy

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  44. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..So if I burned down Brian Tamaki Church, I could say I was protecting people and get away with it?..”

    i hadn’t heard that tamaki was plugged into the american spy-world..

    do you know something we don’t..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  45. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    No, you’ve got to say that you believe in a higher power and that you were protecting other by your actions.

    So the 32 inch LED TV in the shop window was under threat of assassination by evil CIA agents and that I, a peacelover, was only attempting to protect said TV by bungling it into my car boot and hooking it up to the home theatre. I like this.

    A1kmm (8) Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Blatant troll, right? No one can be this seriously dumb, can they? Right?

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  46. Bryla (263 comments) says:

    My my my, you rabid type folk don’t have much of a sense of humour do you?

    Or grip on reality.

    I’m amazed by the way you turn on the jury, and by your ignorance of the law, and of the court system. For one thing, no-one can appeal an acquittal. drongoes.

    I’ve been inviting you all to come and watch the trial, and I’ve written (with knowledge) about what’s been happening each day. I even offered to make bets on the outcome as the trial unfolded. But having kept yourselves ignorant, you now profess surprise. You might find like souls in the irrelevant and powerless Tea Party.

    David Farrer has at least a grip on reality and a respect for the rule of law in a democracy.

    The impact of this trial will be to facilitate recruitment and development in Christian nonviolent action for peace. More and better actions here and in Australia, and reclaiming ANZAC Day for the people.

    You rabid folk shout as much as you like. The law of unintended consequences means you will drive more people to consider and adopt our position.

    Oh yeah…I told you so.

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  47. big bruv (13,935 comments) says:

    The spy base helps fight terror, what the fuck was wrong with this jury?

    What the pinko bastards did not say (but mean) is that they do not give a shit if innocent Americans or westerners are killed just as long as a few Muslim terrorists are not blown to pieces by the likes of Willie Apiata VC.

    For far too long this gutless little nation has hidden behind the protection offered by the Yanks and our much braver cousins over the Tasman, if all we can do to help is host a spy base or two then it is the very least we can do to fight these rag head bastards.

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  48. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    “I can just imaging d4j putting on his skin tight pink leotard and black undies (outside of course) and running down the street shouting “HERE I COME TO SAVE THE DAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!!”

    Are you married to that crackpot big blouse lice Bevun you gutless creep.

    Why are ALL the cowards on here have names starting with b? Like the vile big blouse, the pathetic Bevun and Billyborker etc..etc..

    I am convinced big blouse is a mental health patient.

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  49. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    And here I was thinking that provocation had been removed as a defence?

    This decision is phenomonally bad. The facts of the case are not in dispute. These men did what they were charged with. They admitted it. Their motovation can be taken into account when passing sentence but NOT when determining guilt or innocence.

    As to a retrial. They cannot be tried again on the charges that were laid. I understand that these charges were 2 of wilful damage and one of burglary.

    What about Tresspass charges?

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  50. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    This is a very, very good case for the abolition of juries.

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  51. big bruv (13,935 comments) says:

    A1kmm

    “help the US fight wars that New Zealanders soundly reject”

    Who the fuck are you to speak for all Kiwi’s?

    We have NOT soundly rejected the US or it’s just war on terror.

    In future please speak for yourself and the rest of your terrorist cuddling mates, do sure as hell do NOT speak for me nor do you speak for many other Kiwi’s who can see the very real danger the Muslim world represents.

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  52. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    “Who the fuck are you to speak for all Kiwi’s?”

    Your opinion blouse should stay in the ward you insipid insane nutbar. Go take tuffy for a walk around the compound. You are the sickest joke on here by far.

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  53. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Cool, so willful damage is OK now.

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  54. virtualmark (1,531 comments) says:

    If I remember correctly … Waihopai’s role is to listen in on radio signals from China, Far East Asia, Japan and the eastern regions of Russia. That’s because, if I have this correctly, Waihopai’s position on the globe and the way radio waves propagate through the atmosphere. I seem to remember it’s discussed in one of James Bamford’s books.

    What I mean is that as far as I can recall Waihopai doesn’t/can’t listen in on radio transmissions in Iraq.

    Anyone able to corroborate that?

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  55. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    I hope these long-haired bible-bashing fuckwits understand that even if they were successful, the US would just move the satellites to Australia, Japan or, shit, even Indonesia. At least they’re appreciative of American protection and prosperity. Hey, you know what works even better? Armed guards at Waihopai.

    Christian nonviolent action for peace

    Go to Pakistan and preach to the locals about it then. I’ll try not to shed a tear after the video footage of the scimitar swinging down is released.

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  56. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    “Cool, so willful damage is OK now.”

    Maori are allowed to blow the fuck out of a kiwi flag in a public area without any consequences burt. Cool stuff eh bro-hehehe…

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  57. big bruv (13,935 comments) says:

    D4J

    I bet you have been at the men’s only conference on suicide in the Wairarapa’, you would be in your element, all those men and not a chick in sight.

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  58. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    Score…

    Christian apologists for evil: 1 dome. Easily fixed.

    Willie Apiata: >10 Taliban who enjoy terrorising women, stone people to death, and support the sort of people who blow themselves up in underground trains and crash airliners in to buildings.

    That’s a clear victory to Apiata.

    And it’ll be the only point scored by the christians. Because NZ is still collecting intelligence, still killing the bad guys, and Waihopai will have a bigger pointier fence next time. All they’ve achieved is creating some work in the dome repair and barbed wire industries.

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  59. big bruv (13,935 comments) says:

    “Maori are allowed to blow the fuck out of a kiwi flag in a public area without any consequences burt.”

    Yep, and dead beat dad’s with anger issues are allowed to get away with not paying child maintenance at the same time as professing a hatred for left wing governments.

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  60. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    “I bet you have been at the men’s only conference on suicide in the Wairarapa’, you would be in your element, all those men and not a chick in sight.”

    Wrong said Tuffy- woof woof insanity. People on kiwblog watch blouse with the unhealthy fixation. Anyone would think this cowardly smear on society would catch for a coffee. Suck up your intense hatred you gutless wonder blouse.

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  61. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    As for Waihopai, they may need to invest in some extra guards with tasers!

    Except that, without the jury’s sympathy, whoeever orders the use of the taser and whoever pulls the trigger is likely to end up in prison. Also regardless of the law.

    This is mob rule. Not even the law can protect the rest of us from the Left, it seems.

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  62. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “It wasn’t violent at all. Destructive? Yes. Violent? No.”

    Graeme, are you claiming its not violent because they were acquitted?
    Violence = an unjust or unwarranted exertion of force or power, as against rights or laws”
    it also means .. “having some quality so strongly as to produce a powerful effect, swift and intense force” I’d say deliberate destruction of this kind is violent by definition

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  63. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Problem is intelligent people are too busy to take time off work for jury duty. So the cosequence is you get idiots.

    Well what do you expect. Courts coerce labour out of the citizenry, treat them with contempt by giving them the run around for a day or three, and pay flat rates that most discourage participation by the most intelligent and productive. As always, incentives matter: if prices are set below equilibrium you get undersupply.

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  64. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (786 comments) says:

    “The Green Party’s foreign affairs spokesman, Keith Locke, said the acquittal was a victory for the peace movement.

    “The jury seems to have recognised that the genuine intention of the three men was to advance the cause of peace,” Mr Locke said.

    Awesome stuff Keith!!!
    You heard him people, its all good if you are advocating peace. So find Keith’s car and house and paint giant peace signs on them! Keith’s got no problem with it
    Im not voting Green again until Keith leaves it. I gave them one more vote after Rob died in memory of Rob. But thats it!!!!
    I now have no party to vote for

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  65. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    Bryla says:

    “I’m amazed by the way you turn on the jury, and by your ignorance of the law, and of the court system. For one thing, no-one can appeal an acquittal. drongoes.”

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1003/S00138.htm

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  66. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    I am convinced some middle eastern looking guys in a flat down the road from me are planning to blow up a bus…

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  67. Fletch (6,410 comments) says:

    The impact of this trial will be to facilitate recruitment and development in Christian nonviolent action for peace. More and better actions here and in Australia, and reclaiming ANZAC Day for the people.

    Oh what a crock….
    Their actions have nothing to really do with bringing about peace.
    If it were up to these drongos we wouldn’t have any kind of warning system in place at all. What, should we also ban a sentry guard from keeping watch and shouting “hey, the bad guys are coming!” when he sees them coming over the hill?
    Because that’s what this amounts to.

    Sometimes the stupidity of the Politically Correct really annoys the hell out of me…
    If we man the country with folk like this in charge, we damn well deserve to be attacked.

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  68. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    A Brief Comment On Spy Bases And Civil Disobedience
    .

    Paul G. Buchanan
    May 5, 2008

    With regard to the motives of the three protestors, their cause can be debated. Contrary to what Ploughshares believe, New Zealand derives strategic utility and material benefits from its participation in Echelon. In exchange for giving up a limited slice of its territorial sovereignty, it becomes a junior partner in a global intelligence-sharing network that gives it better access to, and early warning of, potential threat scenarios and critical developments abroad than it could obtain otherwise. It also accrues diplomatic and military benefits that are not publicly acknowledged but which are important to New Zealand’s stature in the international community.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0805/S00039.htm

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  69. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    d4j – I agree with big bruv on very little politically – including the Waihopai 3 issue. But baiting him over the loss of his beloved dog for whom he will no doubt be grieving for months has to be the the most disgusting thing I have ever read on Kiwiblog.

    You really are a demented sad fuck d4j.

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  70. Sam Buchanan (501 comments) says:

    Hysteria and hyperbole aside, it’s a good result – a reminder to politicians that they can’t just ignore international law, not to mention their spending our money on spying and military activities that we have no say about.

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  71. big bruv (13,935 comments) says:

    If we had a government with balls they could ensure that these type of vermin never again attack the site.

    Hand the base over to the Yanks, let them call it part of their embassy and they they can secure it with US Marines, once the base in on US ‘soil’ we should encourage Locke and his fellow scum try and deflate the dome one more time.

    I could make a fortune selling tickets to that!

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  72. big bruv (13,935 comments) says:

    Toad

    Thanks for that, but it is really not necessary, the words of D4J are like water off a ducks back, he can bait me all he likes, it only shows how mad the man really is.

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  73. minto57 (197 comments) says:

    should be appealed or shut down the base

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  74. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    Hey minto shall we replace the Yank base with a Russian one?

    I spy two very deranged crackpots in my eye, big blouse and toady.

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  75. SBY (121 comments) says:

    “So if I break the law, but I say I didn’t know it was illegal, I can get away with it?”

    Depends on how lucky you feel. Who’s to say the jury you get will be sympathetic?

    “What about Tresspass charges?”

    Double jeopardy rule. The Crown can’t bring fresh charges relating to the same series of events.

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  76. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    how did they get the bain jury to come out retirement?

    what a fuckin disgrace.

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  77. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    sorry to hear about yr dog there..bb..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  78. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    My understanding that the Judge can if the verdict is so random he can ignore thier verdict and enter a conviction or something like this.

    All the elements of the charge were proven. Soooo they had to be found guilty. Normally the Judges in directing the jury are totally anal about…..setting aside emotions and personal beliefs………..,

    A truely sickening verdict not becuase of these watery vandals but the rule of law for new ZealandN

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  79. calendar girl (1,244 comments) says:

    This acquittal is simply wrong.

    It would seem that the only course of action now for the Government, acting in defence of the rule of law (and on behalf of NZ taxpayers), is to commence civil proceedings against the three defendants in the High Court for $1m+ to recover the cost of damage done to the Waihopai site and its equipment. And get the best QC available for the plaintiff this time.

    No legal aid for the defence, either – Keith Locke’s friends and the defendants’ churches can fund both the defence and the payment of damages ultimately awarded.

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  80. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    I’m not surprised about the verdict, the signs were there that it could work out like this, but I’m surprised that the defence was available.

    Was it a standard sort of defence, or was some sort of legal loophole exploited?

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  81. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    The saddest thing of all is that this gives Winston a soap box for 2011. God help us if he appeals to the frail old right wing grumpy bastards on a platform of making home invasion a mandatory death sentence! (oh and spy base destruction retrospectively made to carry a minimum of 4 hours in the cumfy chair)

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  82. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    If you think your mobile phone coverage is bad now wait until all the other whack jobs start knocking over the cell towers

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  83. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    How many of you who have got ganglia in your goolies (or in the case of the few women who have commented, the analogous parts of your anatomy) over this have actually heard all the evidence, the submissions for the defence, and the Judge’s summing up to the jury?

    There was a viable defence available in law, and the jury decided the facts supported that defence. End of story – unless the Judge erred in law in instructing the jury there will be no appeal.

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  84. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Can anyone advise me on the legality of offering a sum of money for somebody to tag ‘burt rulz’ on one of the domes. Surely if you just spay pain them that is less damage than slashing them and that’s been judged acceptable.

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  85. nostromo (29 comments) says:

    “Problem is intelligent people are too busy to take time off work for jury duty. So the cosequence is you get idiots.”

    This is largely true, I had a friend working for the law commission who said it was becoming a huge problem. Juries now consist of retired people, students, and anyone else with spare time.
    It’s a simple matter for an employer to write a letter feigning undue hardship to the business/irreplaceable staff member as mine did – since having a staff member do jury service costs them money it’s just standard practice to do this.

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  86. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    Could you provide some information Toad? pretty please with sugar on top.

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  87. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    I’ll second Banana Llama on that.

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  88. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    There’s a lot to see at Waihopia but nothing to see here:

    Some of the people at the centre of the Urewera “terrorist” case are also well known for extravagant rhetoric*. It was their inflammatory talk of “war” and other disturbing statements, as leaked to the media from the police affidavit, that formed the basis of the terrorism charges.

    If all you see of the evidence is an affidavit, it can give a highly distorted picture of a case. This makes it hard for the public to judge the Urewera issue since, to date, much of the news media information about it comes from the one leaked affidavit.
    http://www.nickyhager.info/a-question-of-intelligence/

    *Nevertheless Keith Locke “would feel much more comfortable in the company of those arrested than (he) would be in some of (his) colleagues in parliament.

    http://newzeal.blogspot.com/2008/09/green-party-file-3-keith-locke-supports.html

    October 2007 “anti-terror” raids leaflet

    Oppose State Violence!

    On 15 October 300 capitalist police stormed homes in several cities in the North Island. They acted as if conducting a siege against aggressive enemy snipers. Having tipped off television stations the police smashed their way into houses while cameras were rolling. This was a conscious deliberate act of police intimidation. They dragged unarmed people out of their beds and by the end of the day 17 people had been arrested and were facing firearm charges.

    http://workersparty.org.nz/resources/october-2007-anti-terror-raids-leaflet/

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  89. Sean (301 comments) says:

    These cowards are just that. Gandhi believed in non-violence and was prepared to do time for it. If these worms believed in their cause they would have plead guilty and insisted on jail time. As it is they lied their way out (and one of them is a so-called priest!).

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  90. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    When the New Zealand Supreme Court replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on 12 Oct 2009. NZ Judges now have to consider the spirit of the law. The ‘Waihopi three come under Labours and the Greens spirit of the law.. Not written law.. if you think this is bad.. then wait for the Treaty of Waitangi settlements process to find its spirit in law.

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  91. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    I smell new legislation under urgency, umm, smells like more allowable invasions on our privacy and freedom to protect strategic state resources and assets.

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  92. longbow (118 comments) says:

    “verdict is too important to be left to the jurors”

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  93. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    Graeme E in particular, any comment on the legal basis here?

    I don’t get what “Claim of Right” means? If it only applies to property claims, what does it actually reflect? According to an Australian website:

    9.5 Claim of right

    * A person is not criminally responsible for an offence that has a physical element relating to property if:
    o (a) at the time of the conduct constituting the offence, the person is under a mistaken belief about a proprietary or possessory right; and
    o (b) the existence of that right would negate a fault element for any physical element of the offence.
    * A person is not criminally responsible for any other offence arising necessarily out of the exercise of the proprietary or possessory right that he or she mistakenly believes to exist.
    * This section does not negate criminal responsibility for an offence relating to the use of force against a person.

    I’m not sure where these guys are claiming that they mistakenly believed they owned the spy dome. Surely that isn’t plausible? I know that the law apparently doesn’t require any logic, just belief, but again that website says:

    In order to be successful in this defence, you would need to show that there was an honest belief held. It does not necessarily have to be a reasonable one. Reasonableness, or rather unreasonableness becomes a relevant consideration when determining if an honest belief was really held, and how plausible that assertion is (R v Lawrence [1997] 1 VR 459).

    I’m clearly missing something, interested in what it is. And no, the answer isn’t that the feminazis have taken over, there is some sort of point of law here, or else there’d be a hung jury (some NZers are stupid, but really what are the odds of getting a whole jury of them?)

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  94. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    The jurors also have to rule on the law, if the legal defense was sound the jury was rubber stamping it. The jury are not necessarily to blame here and any assessment of such needs an understanding of the defense.

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  95. tom hunter (4,899 comments) says:

    I suppose this is excellent news for Bryan. Now he can return to Australia filled with an even greater sense of self-righteousness, and embark on ever larger campaigns against the same installations there. Given time and numbers he and his ilk may be able to get them shut down.

    Of course it’s quite possible that this will allow an Islamist suicide bomber to buy plane tickets using bank accounts Bryan prevented our society from tracing, organised via phone and Internet conversations Bryan prevented us from tracking, after holing up in the home of some hate-spewing immam whom Bryan kept from being deported for reasons of religious freedom, and who finally slipped through security prevented from profiling by Bryan’s determination to confront Western racism, so that said bomber could blow up a large number of people.

    Yet even if those murdered include Bryan’s wife and little child, I feel sure that the courage of his Christian beliefs would enable him to overcome any qualms about that particular result of the law of unintended consequences. Right Bryan?

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  96. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    Keith Locke claims that terrorists don’t use the sort of methods the Waihopai base could detect (ie they are too sophisticated). Of course if no ones listening they might pick up the blower.

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  97. Inky_the_Red (760 comments) says:

    Hardly Trrorists. Let’s leave the prison for really bad people.

    Of course prison operating companies would love to have these 3. Little chance of reoffending, likely to cause no trouble, bonuses all round

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  98. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    What is the problem that people have with “spy bases”? If my neighbours have an argument, and I can hear it over my fence, I’m pretty sure there is no law that I need to not listen. If my neighbours are broadcasting a radio signal that I can detect on my property, I also think I’m allowed to listen to that. If the Chinese don’t want us listening, then surely they shouldn’t yell loudly enough for us to hear all the way down here in NZ? Or am I missing something?

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  99. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    when you read some of the background to the case including the case of Katharine Gun you don’t get the feeling that this was an innocent random act but rather all the likely consequences were known in advance, (in other words orchestrated).

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  100. Inky_the_Red (760 comments) says:

    hj, that is there defence. they claim destroying the the US satelite things saved lives. Of course it was planned otherwise no defence

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  101. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..As it is they lied their way out (and one of them is a so-called priest!)..”

    they didn’t lie..they admitted their actions..

    ..and argued..(obviously successfully)..that they were saving lives..

    no lies there..

    and..um..!..one of them actually is a priest..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  102. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    Presumably the dome was repaired by a defence contractor. So maybe next time they could cut out the middleman and protest war by donating money directly to Lockheed Martin or Halliburton?

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  103. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    they were saving lives..

    no lies there..

    [Citation needed]

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  104. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    calendar girl>It would seem that the only course of action now for the Government, acting in defence of the rule of law (and on behalf of NZ taxpayers), is to commence civil proceedings against the three defendants in the High Court for $1m+ to recover the cost of damage done to the Waihopai site and its equipment.

    On the other hand, Helen Clark stated that these clueless christian nutbars had committed “senseless act of criminal vandalism”. It turns out that what they did wasn’t criminal at all. I’d be quite happy to forgive them provided:

    1. They all bugger off back to Australia.
    2. They don’t unilaterally compromise our defence in the future.
    3. They sue Clark for defamation.

    Listen up, nutbars… Clark sent troops to both Iraq and Afghanistan. She is responsible for the deaths of dozens of Arabs and Pashtuns whose only offence was to be a Baathist facist thug or a stone age woman hater. Here is your opportunity for revenge!

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  105. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    Oooo, great! I can now murder everyone with a criminal record for violence or drug dealing or drink driving. Or tax evasion – those bastards undermine the tax base and therfore the public health system which saves lives. In fact, all I need is to suspect people of these crimes and I am allowed to kill them all!

    Bwah ha ha ha ha!!!!

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  106. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    s.russell

    Can you act as fast as the legislators?

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  107. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    I’m not sure where these guys are claiming that they mistakenly believed they owned the spy dome.

    No they mistakenly believed that what they believed were the deaths that would result from the Spy Dome operating gave them a legal right to stop it. I’m not necessarily saying it’s right, but it is what it is. This is what they were trying to argue (and it turns out succeeded).

    You don’t necessarily have to think you own something to rely on claim of right, you just need to think you have some right to do what you’re doing with the property. E.g.

    you come across a car with all the windows closed on a really hot day, it’s obviously really hot in the car, you look in the car and see a dog that has passed out from the heat. You yell out and no-one owns up to owning the car, you break the window to provide help to the dog, and find that it’s actually a dead dog that has been stuffed.

    Do you own the car? No. Do you believe you own the car? No. Was your damaging the car necessary for some greater purpose, like saving an animal’s life? No. But you believed you were justified in damaging the car for some greater purpose. You have a claim of right.

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  108. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Graeme – surely you would have to show that the dog was affected by the heat? – like they would have to join the dots to show how the Waihopai was somehow responsible for human suffering? – or at least why they believed it so strongly?

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  109. dave (988 comments) says:

    Patrick,if you were able to show that the dog was affected by the heat you’d know whether the dog was stuffed or not, surely??? btw great decision in the Waihopai trial. Very pleased.

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  110. MIKMS (167 comments) says:

    Appeal. Any Judge would strike down that previous verdict.

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  111. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    OK, I see. I’m permitted to destroy property in the pursuit of something that looks to be right at the time. If I hear screaming and I think someone’s getting hurt, I’m allowed to break your front door down. If it turns out that you’re just watching a loud movie, then I still have a reasonable defence. Even if any normal person could have told that it was a movie from the loud explosions in the background.

    I’d say that’s a pretty long stretch of that particular defence, but obviously the judge allowed it. If the prosecution knew they’d try that defence (I suspect they did) then surely they could point out that prior to the offense, the people involved knew they’d be prosecuted for it – i.e. they knew they were breaking the law. They didn’t genuinely believe they had a right to do it, they were protesting. So I’d say incompetent prosecution for failing to cast sufficient doubt that these nutbars knew what they were doing was wrong.

    I guess the problem is, the nuttier you are, the easier to use a defence like this.

    What this tells me is that if I believe that policies/doctors/govt/anyone are causing the deaths of unborn children, and I genuinely believe that, then I am able to destroy property in an attempt to stop that. And I will get off. So basically the anti-abortion activists should be looking at this one with interest.

    I wonder whether my belief that unions reduce the wealth of NZ and people overseas by limiting free trade, holding down wages, and keeping people in jobs that they aren’t productive in at the expense of jobs that they might be productive in, would justify me destroying union property in an attempt to stop them from doing this? I suspect the argument is equally sound, I’m not sure I’m nutbar enough to actually do it and put my reputation on the line. Risk of jail is too much for me.

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  112. Rufus (667 comments) says:

    Stupid decision. Sets a dangerous precedent.

    Wonder why they attacked the spy base – easy target I guess. They haven’t got the guts to tag/burn/break-in to their local mosque.

    Ashamed these guys are associated with Christianity.

    Nutters are nutters, no matter what their philosophical/religious slant.

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  113. Rufus (667 comments) says:

    Grrrr…people like this piss me off.

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  114. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    hj, that is there defence. they claim destroying the the US satelite things saved lives. Of course it was planned otherwise no defence

    but what if the plan was really about protest not saving lives. All the evidence presented that might have made them think they were saving lives was dubious. Anyway they are scarecrows with no money; the public will be outraged and the main issue is have they altered perceptions of Waihopia?

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  115. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    ummm -dave – showing some credibility the your concern/belief was the question. i.e what if it was – 2 degrees C?

    btw – the only thing stuffed was the verdict

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  116. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Appeal. Any Judge would strike down that previous verdict.

    There is no appeal.

    And no judge can “strike down” a not guilty verdict.

    surely you would have to show that the dog was affected by the heat?

    It wasn’t moving – you thought it had fainted from the heat. Of course, it turned out it wasn’t moving because it had been dead for some time.

    I’d say that’s a pretty long stretch of that particular defence, but obviously the judge allowed it. If the prosecution knew they’d try that defence (I suspect they did) then surely they could point out that prior to the offense, the people involved knew they’d be prosecuted for it – i.e. they knew they were breaking the law. They didn’t genuinely believe they had a right to do it, they were protesting. So I’d say incompetent prosecution for failing to cast sufficient doubt that these nutbars knew what they were doing was wrong.

    The judge did prevent them running necessity as a defence.

    And knowing you’ll be prosecuted wouldn’t be determinative. I can think of a case where a New Zealand Army Officer (serving with a UN force somewhere in the Middle East) refused an order believing it was an illegal order. An officer refusing an order is going to be prosecuted, and he knew it. He was, and he prevailed – the order was illegal.

    And it’s not about the prosecution casting doubt. It’s for the prosecution to prove that defences don’t apply.

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  117. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    Harking back to the “kill a white statement” where the woman wasn’t prosecuted because she said it on the university marae (which wasn’t a public place) and the paper wot reported it got done: that just taught people a lesson as to how the system can go a bit wonky and these ploughshares gimmicks will be seen in that light I think. :wink:

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  118. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    Hmmm.

    Unfortunately, I actually like the sound of this law. If I genuinely believe someone’s life is at risk, I wouldn’t want to be prosecuted (or have to think twice about being prosecuted) if I damage some stuff trying to save them. The fact that it can be stretched to cover this situation annoys me, but I can’t think of a way to limit it without also limiting the situations that I think it should be able to be used for.

    I think pushing the boundaries like this is pretty much a 50/50 deal, you’d have to be pretty nutjobby to even give it a go. So it isn’t like it’ll be happening every day, and I might be prepared to live with that chance. It’d be a real pity to have a law like this removed (maybe to rely on police discretion instead – that sounds like a great idea!! )

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  119. Chris Diack (741 comments) says:

    In truth we don’t actually know on what basis the Waihopai Jury actually returned the verdict.

    The assumption in many of the comments above is that the defence run by defence Counsel (and the Dominican Father) was the basis for the jury’s decision.

    Who here knows the mind of jurors?

    It’s just as likely that what we have here is a case of jury nullification – i.e. the elements of the offence were made out but despite this, the jury refused to convict because it didn’t like the law itself or more likely the law being applied in this particular set of circumstances.

    Prosecutors and most legal academics hate nullification.

    It is however an important part of the jury system. Its part and parcel of a jury based legal system. A check against arbitrary or capricious application of the law by ordinary citizens. The counter view is that nullification undermines the legitimacy of the law – juries that do it aren’t playing by the rules.

    It’s a background minor reason why more modern offences often eliminate the option of a jury trial with judge alone trials being the only option. Judges can usually be trusted to apply the law (as they see it) even if in a particular set of circumstances this is against the popular mood.

    If New Zealand juries are unwilling to convict for politically motivated damage to defence and security property what should the law reform response be? And if there were a law reform to handle damage to defence and security property differently (Judge alone trials would be the quickest reform option) that might all be very well while the State is reasonably benign. But what if the State started to get less liberally democratic in values and more authoritarian?

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  120. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    And it’s not about the prosecution casting doubt. It’s for the prosecution to prove that defences don’t apply.

    That seems to me to be the key point in this case, the three didn’t have to prove anything, it was up to the prosecution to prove they didn’t believe their actions could prevent deaths, which is very difficult.

    Seems like a carefully calculated protest action to me, but with naive aims. It was successful in that it raised an issue, but I doubt that it will have much if any affect on what people think about Waihopai.

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  121. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    Now that they’ve be acquitted these nutters are likely to be thinking what other intelligence systems can we destroy? This then makes NZ vulnerable to muslim terrorist attacks – threatening the lives of myself and fellow New Zealander’s.

    Therefore I feel, to ensure mine and others security, they have to be taken out before they do another attack that could threaten this security.

    Reckon I’ll get away with it, using “Claim of Right” as a defence?

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  122. Inky_the_Red (760 comments) says:

    “Cliam of Right” can not be used as a defence in murder.

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  123. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    @mattyroo, not if Graeme is correct and “Claim of Right” is a defence that can only be used for property crimes. Certainly the quote I provided makes it clear that any violence associated with your crime will not be covered by this defence.

    Of course, if you thought it important to destroy their cars, offices or any other property so as to stop them doing this again, then that might be covered.

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  124. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    I realise Claim of Right cannot be used as defence against a crime of violence. I was only hypothesising…… Otherwise known as stirring shit.

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  125. Put it away (2,880 comments) says:

    These ploughshares loons and their apologists are aiding terrorists around the world. The “greater good” defence should apply for any acts necessary to stop them.

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  126. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Well done, now every dickhead has been given a free pass to do whatever the hell they like. If they truely beleived they saved anyone they are insane, therefore their actual defence was to cop an insanity plea. The only option left to high secuirty areas to protect themselves is to use the lethal force described on the yellow signs.

    Oh look the bitch of unintended consequences bites lefties in the ass again.

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  127. MIKMS (167 comments) says:

    @Graeme Edgeler (1352) Says:
    March 18th, 2010 at 12:01 am
    Appeal. Any Judge would strike down that previous verdict.

    There is no appeal.

    And no judge can “strike down” a not guilty verdict.

    What.

    Why is there no appeal, as much as the trial judge may say this is a setting of precedent and the Crown has a duty to appeal if it doesn’t want similar actions occurring again to other properties.

    and of course a CoA can overrule a previous verdict – maybe strike down was the wrong wording, but they can still find the case in favour of the Crown.

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  128. MIKMS (167 comments) says:

    unfortunately however, anyone who has commented on this concept has probably lost their argument in court of truely believing it to be the right course of action because of all of the information that will have been read to support a balanced (however mild view of the law

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  129. Gooner (995 comments) says:

    surely you would have to show that the dog was affected by the heat?

    It wasn’t moving – you thought it had fainted from the heat. Of course, it turned out it wasn’t moving because it had been dead for some time.

    Or the Judge would take judicial notice of the fact that dogs sitting in hot cars for hours are likely to dehydrate and die. It’s pretty obvious and doesn’t need to be proved.

    The “dog in the car” scenario is the one taught to recruits at police college to evidence the claim of right. Maybe they’ll use a different example now.

    FWIW, I have no issue with the jury’s finding as I have faith in the system as a whole, even though it very rarely gets things wrong.

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  130. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    MIKMS: The CA cannot overturn a verdict of ‘not guilty’ unless the Crown had been able to bring an appeal by way of case stated. That can only happen if the trial judge has made an error in a legal ruling relating to the trial. The verdict of a jury in an acquittal is otherwise sacred.

    And no jury verdict sets any precedent. Each verdict is unique to its own case; a subsequent jury is never bound by anything but the law. Sometimes not even then!

    It works the other way around as well; the CA won’t often go behind guilty verdicts either, preferring any quashing of convictions to be based on judicial error. I know this only too well from some of the appeals I have worked on.

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  131. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    F E Smith:
    Why is it that when a jury returns a verdict that some of us do not like those offended by the result immediately want

    1) The Crown to appeal (which, of course, the cannot, as Graeme has pointed out);
    etc
    This was one of the reasons for abolishing scetion 59 of the crimes act :”juries sometimes get it wrong”

    I note the the defense lawyer is a member of Ploughshares and that they had succeeded in that defence before. The next jury may see them coming.

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  132. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    HJ, the reason that s59 was repealed was because Sue Bradford wanted to socially engineer the country in her own likeness.

    I don’t see how the next jury (if there is one) can ‘see them coming’, as the defence rests entirely on the facts of the accused and the case. Contrary to popular opinion, we defence lawyers do not advise our clients on how to manufacture defences.

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  133. david (2,557 comments) says:

    So on a larger scale than the stuffed dog scenario, if I genuinely believe that there is a weakness in the Clyde dam that will collapse and kill everyone downstream when the next earthquake hits, I am entitled to blow a small hole in the dam to empty Lake Dunstan?

    HT transmission Lines also cause brain damage. I am absolutely convinced of that. Gas-axing pylons could become a really satisfying activity-du-jour methinks.

    The list is endless.

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  134. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Than you Graeme Edgler and F E Smith for contributing some sense to this thread. It was starting to look like the David Garrett Appreciation Society for a while.

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  135. niggly (830 comments) says:

    Another aspect: Grab a globe of the earth, put a ruler flat onto NZ and aim the ruler towards the Middle East.

    Funnily enough the ruler will actually aim way above Iraq, in fact, well out into outer space so to speak, far above any US intelligence assets parked up over Iraq.

    From that one can deduce whether it is possible for Waihopai (and thus those “evil Amercians”!) to be “inflicting death upon the Iraqis” etc.

    Now, clearly the Prosecution can’t really divulge what Waihopai’s listening range actually is (and it was reported only a couple of months ago from memory that people in Blenheim estimated it to be listening on satellites parked up above eg Indonesia/SE Asia) but I’m sure if they produced a globe and a ruler they would have been able to demonstrate that the well meaning but misguided intentions/defence used by the activists didn’t stack up. Duh!

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  136. Eisenhower (137 comments) says:

    I realise Claim of Right cannot be used as defence against a crime of violence. I was only hypothesising…… Otherwise known as stirring shit.

    Crimes Act 1961
    S2 Interpretation

    claim of right, in relation to any act, means a belief that the act is lawful,
    although that belief may be based on ignorance or mistake of fact or of any
    matter of law other than the enactment against which the offence is alleged to
    have been committed

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  137. polemic (460 comments) says:

    So Graeme Edgler and others,-

    Now that the jury has found them not guilty for burglary and wilful damage- how does the average burglar get convicted of burglary when he genuinely believed he was protecting other people(his partner)from futher suffering by breaking and entering into a private property and damaging the window onthe way thru to take property to sell to feed his partner and kids. ??

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  138. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    The possibilities are endless now

    Just for starters, can I burn down the Green Party HQ because I believe they are supporting terrorists in the Middle East and I would be saving lives by doing so?

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  139. polemic (460 comments) says:

    Also any installation that is owned by the state (or privately) that I dont agree with I am entitled to damage based on a genuinely held belief ?

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  140. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Eisenhower – that is what it means, but that’s just the definition. Contrast this section:

    269 Intentional damage

    (2) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who—
    (a) intentionally or recklessly, and without claim of right, destroys or damages any property in which that person has no interest …

    With this one:

    188 Wounding with intent
    (1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years who, with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to any one, wounds, maims, disfigures, or causes grievous bodily harm to any person.

    Notice how the words “and without claim of right” don’t appear in the second one? That means it can’t be used as a defence in relation to that offence. Those words only appear in respect of various crimes against property.

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  141. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Now that the jury has found them not guilty for burglary and wilful damage- how does the average burglar get convicted of burglary when he genuinely believed he was protecting other people(his partner)from futher suffering

    1. Because different jurors will hear that case.
    2. Because of the fact that they don’t really think it makes it legal, they’re just saying that to try to get off.
    3. Because the jury won’t believe them.

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  142. polemic (460 comments) says:

    Obviously the jury will be different but what does the perpetrator have to prove “right” or “need” or just wheter he looks like a burglar?

    What is the precedent for the Crown Prosecutor appealing on grounds that the learned “jury” wasnt briefed by the learned judge to view these acts under the correct legal ruling?

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  143. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    What is the precedent for the Crown Prosecutor appealing on grounds that the learned “jury” wasnt briefed by the learned judge to view these acts under the correct legal ruling?

    None.

    I also suspect it wasn’t the case. The jury will have been correctly instructed as to how to apply the law. How closely they followed those instructions is a matter for conjecture.

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  144. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    I bet anti-abortion activists are paying attention. Surely the law shouldn’t discriminate between the different types of religious zealot.

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  145. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Surely the law shouldn’t discriminate between the different types of religious zealot.

    It doesn’t.

    It does, however, treat different actions differently – so murdering a doctor involved in performing abortions is treated more harshly than dome deflating.

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  146. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    I’d be surprised, if they could use it, that anti abortionists wouldn’t have already tried. The law may differentiate between protecting “other people” and foetuses.

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  147. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    I still can’t believe this.

    PS: We’re fucked.

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  148. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    so damaging an abortion clinic is quite ok then?

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  149. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    “The law may differentiate between protecting “other people” and foetuses.”

    that’s all up to the lottery that is what our jury system is looking like.

    I’m surprised they didn’t just plead guilty. They knowingly committed a crime for what they believe is some greater good. Why not just accept the consequences which wouldn’t have been any more substantial than a bit of community service. Actually helping people perhaps.

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  150. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    Ok, as always we get the far-fetched ‘what if’ scenarios.

    But…

    Remember that to use the defence you need to raise a genuinely held belief that meets the criteria. These guys, even though they are nutcases, could point to longstanding and very public advocacy in support of their erroneous beliefs. Heck, they have a lot of fellow believers, and, might I say, are in the same boat that AGW sceptics find themselves in when confronting the AGW nazis.

    However, the question about damaging an abortion clinic being ok is one that could have further discussion. I think it could qualify if it was, for example, Ken Orr who did the damaging. A random nutcase using it as an excuse for violence would be unlikely to succeed with the defence. Interesting topic, though probably not really relevant in the wider scheme of things. Lefties are always far more inclined to violence (and support of violence) than right-wingers. Just ask Luc Hansen…

    Edit:

    Bevan:

    Believe it.

    P.S. No, we’re not.

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  151. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    Graeme, further to your 11.26:

    Don’t forget that although the judge would have given the correct legal instructions to the jury, the issue of whether the jury accepted the defence would not have been up to the judge, once it was in front of the jury. So the jury may have followed the judge’s instructions to the letter and still have accepted the defence put forward by the accused.

    This was not a rogue jury by any stretch. The accused admitted their actions, but said they had a defence. The defence was accepted. Case closed.

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  152. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    I suspect the Three may be overestimating the level of support and the amount of difference their action may have.

    A Stuff online poll (yeah, but it’s an indicator):
    Should the ‘greater good defence’ used by the Waihopai 3 be acceptable in NZ courts?
    25% Yes, 75% No (about 3000 votes)

    The 25% could include people that think the law is acceptable but the actions of these three wasn’t acceptable.

    The Three seem happy to have a claim to fame and to have raised awareness, but of what? Will many New Zealanders start to care about Waihopai? I’ve known about it for yonks and my guess is the balance of good versus bad is weighted towards acceptable. And even if Waihopai was scrapped, would that stop crap happening in the world? I very much doubt it would make any difference on that side of the scale.

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  153. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    A similar defence – known as the greater good defence – has been run by protesters in Britain, Ireland and Germany.

    In the US last month, anti-abortion campaigner Scott Roeder was convicted by a judge of murdering an abortion doctor after failing with a similar defence. His lawyers had argued for a lesser conviction because Roeder believed that the killing was justified to save the lives of unborn children.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/3468003/Waihopai-3-walk-free

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  154. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    F E Smith: I’ll believe it when I see a change in attitude of the NZ public.

    When complete limp wristed wanktards (read, Minto, Locke, et el) start respecting Anzac Day and realise the majority of those who turn up to dawn services are not doing so in a celebration of war, but out of respect and rememberance at those brave soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation, then I’ll agree

    When the government, no matter its flavour devouts more resources to our defense needs, then I’ll believe it.

    When the nation starts showing some fucken love for their country and stops cringing at a tiny amount of nationalism as if it somehow makes us akin to 1930’s Germany, then I’ll believe it.

    Until then, I still reckon were fucked.

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  155. MIKMS (167 comments) says:

    Is the Crown able to bring a civil action suit for the damage- In theory it should be possible

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  156. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    Pete George, when opinion polls determine the results of criminal cases, then we are without hope.

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  157. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    I wasn’t looking at the poll in relation to the verdict, it seems that a lot of people online are make uninformed comments about that.

    I was looking at the poll to see what level of support the Three might have in the wider community now, to see if they might have generated some sort of feeling against Waihopai or not.

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  158. Spam (588 comments) says:

    It does, however, treat different actions differently – so murdering a doctor involved in performing abortions is treated more harshly than dome deflating.

    Murdering the doctor – agreed. But what about burning-down the clinic at night-time?

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  159. virtualmark (1,531 comments) says:

    Qu for Graeme Edgeler … thanks for your outline of the Claim of Rights defence. My question … shouldn’t there be some onus on the accused employing a Claim of Rights defence that there is a specific clear identifiable danger to others that you are acting to avert?

    I can agree to Claim of Rights in your example of the (dead) dog in the car, and in Paul’s example of breaking a door down because you think someone is being murdered, only to find out it’s a movie with the amp turned up to 11. In both cases the person is acting to avert a specific danger that they can clearly identify.

    But the Waihopai 3 were acting to avert – in their eyes – some vague undefined threat to a broad unidentified group. It’s not like they knew that Hassan Ali Tikurk of Basra, aged 34, was under imminent threat.

    To me, at that point it goes from being “I needed to act to save someone from harm” to “this is just a generic protest which resulted in property damage”.

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  160. Right of way is Way of Right (1,122 comments) says:

    Another little twist to this saga is that the information being gleaned from the installation in Waihopai may allow pre-emptive action which may in fact negate the requirement to actually kill anyone. The law of unintended consequences being what it is, it is more likely that, in the absence of information, people will be killed who may have been saved had specific information been available.

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  161. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    Clearly the Bain jury has gone on tour. FFS.

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  162. Macfre (22 comments) says:

    Sure and begorrah the verdicts on the Waihopi trio were handed down on St Patrick’s Day and we haven’t seen the joke…. Seriously, their defence of saving lives and the greater good should have used in reverse by the prosecution. Some have said, and I agree, that there appears to be no evidence of a reduction in lives lost as a result of their actions. However, how many lives were lost as a result of information not processed through the base? There is a greater probability of lives lost through one bomber not being apprehended than the excuse used by the trio that lives were being preserved. On that basis the charge should have been a minimum of attempted murder. The jury should also have been instructed to consider the state of mind of the men in terms of assessing their defence. The instruction to the jury would need to be simple though as it appears they weren’t the brightest bunch. Something like, “fill in the blank space; if it looks like a nutter and sounds like a nutter then it probably is a _____”, should have done the trick.

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  163. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    A New Zealand Herald article on the case now notes the following:

    The Crown is currently considering the decision and may decide to pursue an appeal.

    The trial judge reserved a question of law relating to the offence of “claim of right” pursuant to section 380 of the Crimes Act 1961 – the only situation which allows for a Crown appeal following an acquittal, the Solicitor-General said in a statement today.

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  164. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    What does “reserved a question of law” mean in this situation Graeme?

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  165. Macfre (22 comments) says:

    It means, notwithstanding the jury verdict, the judge felt that there was a legal point that may have been misconstrued and which, if it had not, may have led to a different outcome. The existence of a point of law creates an ability, for the Crown in this instance, to argue that clarification of the point by a higher court might change the basis on which the verdict was reached. .

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  166. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Same thing it means in every situation :-)

    In the course of trials, judges make legal rulings about a number of things – whether certain eveidence can be admitted, whether certain defences can be put to the jury, etc.

    In this case he made a ruling that the defence of necessity, and defence of another could not be put to the jury, because they couldn’t possibly be successfully argued. He also made a ruling that the defence of “claim of right” could be put to the jury, and will have defined the boundaries of that defence as it applies to the facts of this case. The prosecution will have asked to judge to say “yes, this is a legal decision I have made which might not be correct if the Court of Appeal was to look at it, so I give you permission if you want to be able to appeal that ruling, however the trial will keep going on on the basis of the ruling I have made.”

    The Prosecution can ask the Court of Appeal (in this case, sometime it would be the High Court) to look at that legal matter and decide whether the judge made the right decision on that legal point.

    Reserving a question of law leaves open the option for the Crown to appeal that legal question, but even when a question of law is reserved, it is still rare for the Crown to pursue it.

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  167. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    Thanks, good explanation.

    It’s a rare case anyway, it will be interesting to see if they pursue an appeal. It may depend on how important they think it is to have the ruling explored/clarified?

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  168. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    I add my thanks Graeme – I rely on the explanations you give to understand what is going on!! I reckon this case would be one where there is enough interest to appeal if there is ability to. Depends of course on what exactly was the point of law that was reserved, but if the question was whether claim of right could validly be applied to something like this v’s the dog dying in a car example, then I’d definitely be keen to see a clear ruling.

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  169. Megatron (190 comments) says:

    So anyone can now commit any crime in the interests of protecting people and get away with it..What a crock of shite.
    What follows will be interesting but predictable. Open slather.

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