Pine Gap Trial – COURT UPDATE June 13th 2007
Blood of Iraqis brought into court
Hiking boots stained with the blood of an Iraqi person were put before the jury in the final moments of the Pine Gap Four’s NT Supreme Court trial today.
In her closing address, defendant Donna Mulhearn asked the jury to consider the stained hiking boots she was wearing in court. She had worn them in an Iraqi marketplace, in the aftermath of a US missile.
"Now, in this court room, there is blood on my boots. Blood of a human being, that is there because of the targeting decisions made in Pine Gap," she told the jury. "I'm asking you to honour the memory of this person's blood.. for the sake of the truth, for the sake of your humanity, I'm asking that you find me not guilty."
Defendant Jim Dowling stated that at every stage the prosecution had attempted to cover up the truth. "The Commonwealth's hands are dripping with blood of the Iraqi people", he said.
The fate of the Pine Gap Four rests with a jury of their peers tonight following the conclusion of the Crown's case against them. Legal history will be created whatever their decision.
Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has charged the group under the virginal Defence (Special Undertakings) Act of 1952, with a sentence of up to seven years imprisonment. No legal precedent exists for this case.
On December 9th 2005 Bryan Law of Cairns, Jim Dowling and Adele Goldie of Brisbane and Donna Mulhearn of Sydney conducted a Citizen's Inspection at Pine Gap to spotlight the base's role in the Iraq war.
The defendants had planned to use sections 10.3, 10.4 and 10.5 of the Criminal Code (necessity, defence of others etc.) to legally justify their actions, but these were ruled inadmissable by Justice Sally Thomas yesterday.
Proceedings will resume at 9am for brief comments by the Judge, and then the jury will be sent out to deliberate on the verdicts on all 14 charges.
Nine barristers and lawyers have been present for the prosecution case, while the Pine Gap Four have been unrepresented.
In her closing statement today, Ms Mulhearn stated "when peaceful protest doesn't work, further action is required. History shows this, my faith demands this, and my humanity requires it…Everything that I did that was lawful, didn't work. And then I went to Pine Gap. For a few hours the coordinates didn't get relayed, and the missiles didn't drop."
Justice Sally Thomas summed up: "This is a case that has evoked quite a great deal of emotion. Some of you may feel quite strongly that Australia should have no part in the war in Iraq… you may feel that as members of the Australian public we should know more about what is happening in Pine Gap - having feelings of sympathy or empathy or perhaps prejudice is a normal human reaction. However when it comes to deliberations in this matter I have to ask you to put aside your prejudices, sympathy or empathy and use your intellect to examine the facts of the case."
Tonight the group and supporters will hold a mock trial, where expert witness Professor Richard Tanter will discuss the evidence he was not able to presen during court proceedings.
EVENTS & INTERVIEWS:
Tonight: 13 June Mock Trial: with PROF. RICHARD TANTER
Professor Tanter was due as an expert witness on the nature of Pine Gap but was not granted leave to appear. He will present his evidence tonight in a public meeting.
Professor Tanter is a professorial fellow at the Nautilus Institute at RMIT University. He has widely published on intelligence and military issues in Australia, Japan and Indonesia.
Wednesday 13 June, 7pm. Flynn Memorial Church Hall, Todd Mall, Alice Springs
Professor Tanter is also available for media comment.
INTERVIEWS with defendants can be arranged with sufficient notice. Photographs of defendants also available, including portraits (individual & group) & action pics of pre-inspection demonstrations.
For more information contact Jessica Morrison 0431 519 577
13 June, 8.30am
"Celebration and Solidarity" parade by supporters from Todd St Mall to Courthouse
13 June, 8.50am
– courthouse steps, Hartley St Alice Springs, Photo op with defendants
(photos available of all events on request)