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Judge to deliver verdict in GE labelling trial

Three people charged with intentional damage for labelling genetically engineered food during protests in supermarkets last May will hear the court's verdict tomorrow.

Judge Lockhart will give his decision at the Auckland District Court, Albert St. at 9.15am.

Jon Carapiet, GE-campaigner and Green Party candidate for the Maungakiekie electorate, together with other well-wishers, have been at the court to support the accused. He also supported the original protest on May 13 1999, when people all over the country entered supermarkets and labelled GE products.

The trial follows months of delay in labelling GE foods on sale in New Zealand. In Britain labelling is already in place, and includes information on GE ingredients used in restaurants.

"I believe there was no intention to cause damage and the trial should never have proceeded," Mr Carapiet said today.

"People have the right to know what they are eating, instead of having it forced on us. If supermarkets or manufacturers will not voluntarily label GE foods as the law allows, what are people to do?"

Last week defence barrister Peter Winter claimed that the labelling was intended to inform the public, in the absence of government regulations to do so.

The court also listened to defence comments that labelling GE foods did not render them unsaleable and did not constitute intentional damage.

ends

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