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Charges dropped against another peace activist

15 February 2017

Media Release: Charges dropped against another peace activist
From: Peace Action Wellington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The judge has dismissed yet another charge in the case against peace activists arrested protesting the Weapons Expo in 2015. After reviewing the evidence provided by the Crown Prosecution and hearing from a police witness the judge found there was no case to answer. This follows the dropping of charges against 9 people yesterday after evidence revealed the protest was on public land and arrests for trespass were unlawful.

With 10 out of the 16 charges dropped after three days of evidence the Crown’s case is falling apart. “After fifteen months, thousands of dollars and a week in court I don’t think the cops ever intended to find us guilty. In fact they were using this court case as the punishment,” stated Jerome O’Connor, whose charge of obstruction was dropped today.

The trial continues tomorrow (Thursday) with the remaining five defendants facing charges of obstruction, trespass and disorderly behavior from the protest against the Weapons Conference at the TSB arena in November 2015. This afternoon while court case was underway a public petition with 4,000 signatures against the Weapons Expo handed in by Peace Action Wellington was tabled in parliament.

This is part of an ongoing week of resistance by Peace Action Wellington, to the arms trade during the week of court. The next public action will be at 8am on Friday where Peace Action Wellington will be supporting the Double the Refugee Quota campaign at the Australian High Commission for a Vigil for Reza Barati. Reza Barati was a refugee killed on Manus Island three years ago where he was detained by the Australian Government.

Peace Action Wellington recognises the direct connection between the arms trade and the plight of refugees, including those from Syria and the Middle East. “While we were protesting, Aleppo was burning”, said Adrian Leason, one of the arrestees who had his charges dropped on Tuesday and was one of the ‘Waihopai 3’.

ENDS

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