Thursday, June 14, 2007
Day 11 - Waiting for the Verdict....Guilty
We resumed at 9am today, which made our procession much colder than usual! But we sang with great gusto as we took our last procession down the Todd Mall.
Judge’s final comments.
Reminded her of their obligation to the matter between ‘Our Sovereign the Queen’ and the accused. She told her that they can’t be mindful of the effect of their verdict (ie possible jail time!), and to remind them that the can get access to further information from the case if they need to be reminded of. She further reminded them that there is a burden of proof on the Crown to prove their case. She discharged the two reserve jurors, which were both women.
After less than five minutes the jury were then asked to retire to consider their verdict.
We were asked to ‘all stand’ and were about to leave when the Judge reminded us that that we needed to deal with bail. “the defendants bail is continued but they stay within the precincts of the court.
So at 9.20 am the jury retired, and we waited.
At 11.05 the four defendants were called into court as “Her Honor wants to see you”.
“I have had no contact with the jury. However I have had another matter that needed to be raised. I have been told by the Sherriff’s officer that you are distributing DVD’s within the court. Can I tell you that this is not appropriate.” She gave reasons that the defendants have to be available on short notice, and can’t be seen to be pushing something on staff.
At 2pm we were informed that the jury had reached a verdict. At 2.10pm we all returned into court and rose for perhaps the last time for the entering of the judge.
The jury returned with faces not giving away anything.
The gallery was full, of locals, media, supporters, prosecution members, and the level of anxiety was palpable.
For each of the fourteen charges for the four defendants the question was asked: Do you find the accused guilty or not guilty? Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.
We took a short break for sentencing, with lots of emotion, including from those on the so called ‘other side’. It reminds me that we have a system where we believe we have no enemies.
Mr Dembo’s sentencing submission, which took over an hour, could be summarised by “throw the book at them”.
He outlined that the maximum penalties of ten years is possible for these offences. He asked the Judge to consider the seriousness of the offences. He noted that there are limited other crimes that require the consent of the Attorney General, which includes other Intelligence and Security mattes, those under Acts relating to the ‘Crimes on the High Seas’ and the ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’. Hardly offences that seem comparable to this matter.
He then went through to address each point of law individually.
The Law says that the Court must relate to “of a severity that is appropriate to the seriousness of the offences”, the nature and circumstances of the offence.
He submitted that “all of the offenders cooperated to a limited extent by making written admission…however those written submissions were received the afternoon before the trial proper started.”. In regard to specific deterrent effect of any penalty, “this is a matter that does cause the crown some concern…who have, for reasons of their own, expressed no remorse…and in fact talked about doing it again…Your Honor must take that into account…”
He noted that Bryan, Jim and Adele have prior convictions, relating to challenging war and injustice (with traffic violations also noted!!).
He once again stated that “no one is above the law and can take the law into their hands, and there must be deterrence for like-minded people”.
When Mr Dembo got to the rehabilitation clause, he stated “the crown sees there is no prospect for rehabilitation” to laughter to the courtroom.
In relation to comparing with other sentences, the Crown stated that in relation to the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act that “there are no previous authorities or sentencing under the provisions of this Act”.
It gives us no joy to state that our submission is “to make a sentence of imprisonment with actual time to be served is the only appropriate sentence in this case”. “Home detention is not appropriate as none of the offenders are resident of the Northern Territory.” “Their submissions to the jury is that they don’t recognise this law, wont recognise this law, and won’t commit to abiding by it”…”The crown is not asking for the whole term to be served”
Judge Thomas noted that people who have previously trespassed on Pine Gap, with a long history of this, have been given a fine. She noted that it is a “big step up” to talk about a jail sentence. “Here they are facing extremely serious offences that carry serious jail sentences”. “A prison statement is one of last resort, including if they are suspended”.
Mr Dembo responded by talking about the general deterrence required for drug importation, again a foolhardy comparison.
We then went to the matter of the cost of repairs to the fence. Mr Dembo submitted a final statement by the Raytheon employee, which was disputed by Jim. He was called in as a witness. He gave evidence that the final bill was $10,785.10, paid by Mr Burgess. Jim asked the witness whether he was aware of the fraud charges and missile making of Raytheon, and he replied he did not. Judge Thomas then asked about the change of cost to the bill. He stated that the fence was thicker than the usual gauge, and had to be transported from Melbourne.
Speaking for themselves the defendants had the following to say:
“If I can start in the traditional way in your Honour by putting forward facts in mitigation of the action I took. I would like to point out, in agreement with Mr Dembo that our damage of property is at the lower end, and I have no idea in relation to the trespass charge. I would suggest that our advance notice and our liaison and our discussion with authorities should be taken into account, as it allayed fears of what we may do…..No one had caused to be fearful…or that anyone suffered any lasting trauma…our crime is not like one in the traditional sense in that it did not seek personal advantage…our actions are conscientious actions…We were non violent and non-malevolent…there was no resistance to any arrest, we never offered violence or disrespect or resistance of any kind. It’s my belief my Honour, that we were, as Ghandi suggested “be the change you want to see in the world”. He presented a number of reference, including a letter from his State member, and one from Des Ball.
He asked for mitigation based on the intentions and behaviour in the carrying out of the actions.
He said that all his words are his own and not the others. His words about future actions related only to himself.
He also said that it was his intent to shut down Pine Gap. To do general protest is accepted by the
the State. “while this state remains at war I intend to continue to make efforts to shut the war fighting elements of the Base down.”
There is no chance of rehabilitation he stated. “I took advantage of the circumstances. We planned for this event. And it is no wonder that there was this effect as the result of that planning.
I would submit that really Your Honour has to give me a custodial behaviour.
You should consider an appropriate custodial sentence and lay it on me Your Honour and I will just serve it out.”
Jim stated that the bill to fix the fence was farcical because Raytheon itself was responsible for billions of dollars worth of damage in the first days of the war through the use of its missiles.
Jim asked not to be sent to jail as they were trying to stop war. “I Invite you to join resistance in war and not give us any penalty”
“I’m thankful of the opportunity to speak the truth about what Pine Gap actually does, which is part of the war machine. Which is part of treal time etc…
I’m not willing to pay the Raytheon bill based on these submissions. I don’t particularly want to go to jail. But I stand by my principles”.
“Ask that no conviction be recorded and that I receive no penalty. As you notice I’ve never been convicted of a crime ever…I’m generally regarded as a good citizen and a previously been a representative of the elected body….I would accept whatever your decision would make… I live in a monastery, missionary of the sacred heart, brothers and priests…I consider their authority as higher than this authority and I accept their support of me is more important than whatever decision of a court of law. I believe my behaviour was excellent, and if I am given a good behaviour bond, I’ll continue my behaviour as the last year and a half…and I’ll continue to resist war. I’ll do whatever I need to do according to my conscience, and I’ll continue to act according to my conscience.
She indicated that she will return to deliver her sentence at 11.30am tomorrow.