Grandmother appeals court for right to protest mining
A 65-year old Coromandel woman appealing her conviction, served last August, for obstructing a mining company prospecting in conservation land in the Karangahake Gorge, will appear tomorrow morning in the Waihi District Court.
Linda Gilmore, arrested on August 13th earlier this year, chained herself to a gate used by mining operators New Talisman Gold Mines.
Gilmore says she will be appealing her conviction and sentence for obstruction on the grounds of peaceful protest.
"I feel it's important to appeal because the courts need to look at the bigger picture - we're protesting because we feel strongly that it's not right to destroy conservation land and we were left with no other avenues to draw the public's attention to this issue.
"I couldn't look my grandkids in the face if I didn't do everything possible to preserve our conservation land for their future."
Gilmore, a local business owner, who has lived in the area for more than 25 years, says she's feeling hopeful tomorrow's outcome will be in favour of the community, rather than the mining company.
"Mount Karangahake is the heart of our community and I hope the court gets this - before this government opened Parliament last year they made a promise to extend Schedule 4 to protect Karangahake from mining and it still hasn't happened.
"I consider myself to be a law-abiding citizen, but in this case the law is protecting the wrong people - we have no choice but to protect the mountain ourselves."
Tomorrow morning, in the Waihi District Court, Gilmore's lawyers will be arguing that she has a reasonable cause, one that resonates within the community, a reason that is altruistic and a reason that allows for peaceful protest in New Zealand.