Waihopai Protesters offer their clothes to the Prime Minisiter

The three protesters, facing a civil claim for 1.2 million dollars by the Government Communications Security Bureau,  made a symbolic gesture at Parliament last Wednesday, the first day of an appeal hearing, by handing over their clothes.

They based their action on the Christ’s admonition, found in Matthews’s Gospel, that if you are sued and lose your coat, give your shirt as well.

One of the protesters, Father Peter Murnane, wants their “gifts” declared on the prime minister’s list of pecuniary interests.

The 72-year-old Dominican priest says it is 50 years since he had a bank account.

He says those demanding compensation from him would have to grab him by the ankles and shake him to find any money.

In 2008, Father Murnane, farmer Samuel Land and teacher Adrian Leason entered the Waihopai spy base in Marlborough and punctured an inflatable dome covering a large antennae.

They were acquitted of criminal charges of burglary and intentional damage, but they now face a civil claim for the cost of the damage.

At a fast-track “summary judgment” hearing, an associate judge decided they had no defence to the claim, although the amount of damages was not decided.

The three protesters have appealed against the decision that they have no defence. They say they have defences to the claim, including one about claims based on illegal acts.

The court has reserved its decision.


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News category: New Zealand.

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