Waihopai Three acquitted

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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