Peace Activists Disrupt Talisman Sabre War Games
Peace activists Graeme Dunstan and Greg Rolles appear to have been successful in their efforts to disrupt the Talisman Sabre War Games. After having spent two days within the Shoalwater Bay training grounds see here, ignoring “No Entry” signs and eventually being arrested for trespass, the pair have had their cases heard in court this morning.
During the prosecution brief, police stated that the activists had disrupted exercises and halted the activities of millions of dollars worth of military equipment and personnel: “By conducting these activities, the defendant has disrupted the exercise Talisman Saber 2013 and has caused many millions of dollars of equipment and personnel to be put on standby whilst they were dealt with. This was the intention of the defendant in a bid to bring attention to the cause which he passionately supports”.
While it seems likely the prosecution has overstated the case, as police prosecutors intent on prosecution are want to do (the disruption was likely of minimal consequence to the carrying out of war games), it would appear that the Peace Activists have caused at least some disruption to the exercises.
The police prosecution sought to have bail changed, on the basis that Dunstan may incite further protests. The Magistrate refused to oblige, stating “we live in a free society”. During sentencing the Magistrate referenced Nuremberg, saying that sometimes bad laws need to be broken, but also suggesting that this wasn’t one of those times.
Dunstan pleaded guilty to three offences; trespass under the Commonwealth Crimes Act, breach of bail conditions, and offence relating to a camera under the Defence Act and was fined $940. Rolles was charged with Trespass under the Commonwealth Crimes Act and offence relating to a camera under the Defence Act. Rolles pleaded guilty to trespass but is challenging the camera offence charge. Hearings are adjourned for 2 weeks.
[story edited 3:38PM 25 July to add new information]