Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Story - The Court Case - the Verdict

Back from legal writing world, to blogging world! Here is our story of our court appearance. I will blog some reflections on our action as an overall a bit later. And if you’re lucky I’ll include my very very long legal defence. Check our for sarah’s and simon’s legal arguments.

The Story. We’ll the four of us had done a-lot of work for this day in court. And what a day it was to remember. 3.5 hours in court arguing our case - why we had a lawful excuse for trespass that day. However as the time in court progressed it wasn’t just us on trial = but Talisman Sabre was on trial, Howard Government Policy was on trial and violence and war were on trial. All in the name of the nonviolent Jesus. We got to say all these things in court and it is official – we have publicly opposed war, violence and these war-games.

I was fairly nervous. We met at 8am in the morning and held a time of silence by the Yeppoon beach. Our supporters (Kaylene, the Moyles, Anthony, Cheryl and Margaret – all GREAT people who helped make our day in court happen well!) joined us. This time together, communing with God was very meaningful. Disarming our hearts, forgiving, seeing this as an opportunity to love and offer God’s invitation to transform this world.

In the waiting room, we conversed with the Police Prosecutor (who shall be known from now on as PP) and other locals who were very happy that the hippies (us!) were here to make court more relaxing and fun! The Mag was excellent in helping explain to us ignorant people the court process and correct us when we doing the wrong thing.

The four of us sat on the bench together as one. The PP made the Crown’s case against us which was like two second’s worth cause we agreed on all the facts. Thus, it was our turn then to explain why we thought we had a lawful excuse and were not-guilty of an offence which happened!

We were all thrown when we were asked – were we giving evidence or were we preseting legal defence – well it was both. So we had to re-jig and do the highland jig a bit. So we got up and gave evidence – well at least the subjective bits of our arguments. It ended up better I think as we got to present twice – the four of us – that makes 8 presentations! Each presentation adding on more weight to the argument presented by our comrades before us! Of course the PP cross-examined us and made us sweat our armpits off like in the movies, trying to get us to say stuff that would blow any chance we had, while our supporters ah’ed and ooh’ed when we got the heavy questions and wangled our way out!

After summing up by the PP, again very short – we got to sum up too! We did well I think. It seems like we got as close as possible to legally defending ourselves, that we had a lawful excuse because of the harm going on during Talisman Sabre – however, were we couldn’t quite get there was proving that we were ordinary people! Ha. What a laugh (Moyle did laugh actually!). We couldn’t do it.

Well, the mag took ½ hour to decide. We spent the time pacing around out in the sun. nervous, anticipating – wondering whether the mag was an extra-ordinary mag – bold enough to take on a nation and declare an amazing precedent by finding us not-guilty. We were summoned back in.

It then took another 20 minutes of legal speech by the mag to give us our verdict. It wasn’t until 10mins in that we knew it wasn’t heading our way. GUILTY. Neverless we could feel, see, hear the respect for our actions, the respect for why we did what we did, the understanding that at least in our opinon this situation was harmful and warrented action. Unfortunately the Mag decided that our actions were not of ordinary character and that not an everyday Australian would do such a thing – this is a sad commentary on our society.

Then came sentencing. PP up again – down again. Nothing much to say other than we should get something like what all our other comrades have received so far – fines, convictions, 12month good behaviour bonds. The mag then asked us for our sentencing statements. Well it was fun. The four of us got up and reeled off our resumes – our community work and volunteer work and everything we do. At the end of doing so – the PP jumped to his feet and exclaimed, something like “after hearing the work that these people do in our community, I move for no conviction and no fine”. The Mag just smiled and said something like I wasn’t going too! Amazing. Our Prosecutor became our advocate! What a transformation.

So we all got a mere 6mth good behaviour bond – which was fine by us. We won’t be back in QLD for 6 months. Operation Talisman Sabre 2009 is at least 12 months away!

And it was over. An action which started 10 months ago, well really another 6 months before if you include planning – over. What an amazing and empowering experience. Nothing like it have I experienced. It felt like I was in a gospel story, your honor Jesus changed my life and made me do it! A story to remember, another testimony to the power of God. Thanks to God for such grace at every step of our journey, the spirit was indeed present and without none of this could have happened.

So we got to relax. Spent some time in Yeppon and Byfield eating some great meals with some of the great locals. A moments rest. The job not yet done. There’s more on the way…

Friday, April 04, 2008

An invitation

In Case you can't read what it says...

Thursday 17th April
@ Borderlands Co-op
2 Minona St, Hawthorn
(Melways Ref. 45 E11)