Crown drops $1.2M suit against protesters

  • 05/02/2014

Three protesters who broke into Waihopai spy base in 2008 will be spared having to pay the $1.2 million bill for the damage.

Dominican friar Peter Murnane, Adrian Leason and Sam Land were being pursued by the Crown after entering the property and deflating one of the plastic domes housing a satellite dish.

The men were found not guilty of criminal charges of burglary and wilful damage, but they were subsequently found liable in a civil hearing for the $1.2 million damage bill.

They had appealed the decision, but a spokesman for Attorney-General Chris Finlayson says the suit has been dropped.

"We have agreed not to seek recovery of the damages provided they don't go ahead with the appeal," he told NZ Newswire.

He said it was important the Crown went ahead with the case initially to establish through the courts that the protesters were liable for the damage. But the Crown also realised it was highly unlikely the protesters would be able to pay the money owed.

The decision was applauded by the Green Party, which said the civil suit was vindictive and a waste of taxpayers' money.

"Today's decision by the Crown to drop this vindictive action against the peace activists is a great victory for these activists who were standing up against spying activity in this country," Green Party security and intelligence spokesman Steffan Browning said.

NZN

source: newshub archive