Who are we?

Hi Friends. Welcome to the blog of the Pine Gap trial, held in Alice Springs. For a background of the case and our group, and other stories please see www.pinegap6.org. At the bottom of the page is a photo of the four accused (from left) Jim Dowling; Donna Mulhearn; Bryan Law and Adele Goldie arriving at court on the first day of the trial, Tuesday 29th of June 2007.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Day 2 - pm - from Rose

The session began with the Crown Prosecutor, Dembo, giving his opening address to the jury. The jury are a very mixed bunch: 5 men, 8 women of varying ages. Some looked intent, some looked bored. One older man looks very serious all the time and listens intently to everything said.

Mr Dembo explained the details of the break-in in painfully precise detail. There were a few laughs from the gallery when he described Adele giving the peace sign in one of the photos, saying he assumed it was a peace sign but could be interpreted otherwise.

The letters exchanged between Bryan and Senator Robert Hill were read out. The jury appeared to be listening very carefully to these, especially the replies from Robert Hill stating that breaking into Pine Gap could incur a maximum jail term of 7 years.

After the statements of admission were read out (documents detailing the police interviews), once again in painful and precise detail (we all know Bryan’s credit card number now), Mr Dembo summed up his opening address, chatting in a blokey fashion to the jury, expressing sympathy for lengthy trial they will be sitting through and the uncomfortable seats they must sit on. They all smiled appreciatively. He explained that they must not let their personal, political beliefs about the war in Iraq enter into their decisions. He explained that people cannot just take the law into their own hands, giving the example of someone wanting a pair of shoes that they can’t afford so they just break in and steal them. He also gave the example of someone suspecting their neighbours of dealing drugs, hastily adding that he did not for one moment suggest that any of the defendants were doing so. This caused much laughter in court. He said if you suspected your neighbours were dealing drugs you couldn’t just break in and find out for yourself—that there were processes which must be gone through.

The first witness was then called: Michael Burgess, Deputy Chief at Pine Gap, a balding, hunched man in his 30s or 40s. He said he was responsible for the day-to-day running of the base, was the Officer-in-Charge of ‘the prohibited area’ and had started at Pine Gap on 16.1.06. He said that only people on official business were given permission to enter the base and even tradesmen entering to do work needed a high level security clearance to do so.

The court was then adjourned for the day, with the judge explaining to the jury that they must rely only on what they hear in court and must not go out and do their own research as this has caused problems in the past.

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