Only 4 of 15 charges remain in case against peace activists
Thursday 16th February
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Only 4 of 15
charges remain in Crown case against peace
From: Peace Action Wellington
Another charge was dropped on the fourth day of the Crown's case against 15 peace activists who protested the 2015 Wellington Weapons Expo. Selina Van Doorn's charge was dismissed after the Judge was shown video evidence which clearly showed that police had violently arrested her for no reason. The Crown have now completed their witnesses and lawyers for the remaining represented defendants have applied for their cases to be dismissed due to lack of evidence.
Van Doorn had been charged with obstructing police but the video demonstrated her asking police officers why another protester had been arrested and then moving away when requested. She was then grabbed by two police officers, pushed to the ground and arrested. Van Doorn today said "This whole process has really made me lose trust in the police. They tried to paint us as a violent mob but we were there protesting for peace and the only ones being violent at the protest were the cops."
Four defendants now remain. The lawyers for the remaining three represented defendants are confident that the Crown has not presented sufficient evidence to prove any of the charges and at the end of proceedings today filed applications for the charges to be dismissed. One defendant is still representing himself and may present further evidence.
Laura Drew of Peace Action Wellington, whose charges still stand, said today "The Crown's case has fallen out from under their feet. They've got no evidence and it's really demonstrating that these arrests and the court process has been used as a punishment against us for protesting the business of war."
Peace Action Wellington will be joining the Double the Refugee Quota campaign outside the Australian High Commission at 8am Friday morning, in solidarity with asylum seekers being held indefinitely in Australian offshore detention. Drew continued, "We'd like to send a message to Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, who will be in New Zealand tomorrow, that his government's treatment of asylum seekers is unacceptable. The arms trade, war and refugees are inextricably linked and we'll continue standing against war and in solidarity with those fleeing it."