3.30pm 25 July, 2013
Police Prosecution claims Talisman Saber protestors halted millions of dollars of equipment and personnel
Greg Rolles and Graeme Dunstan appeared in Rockhampton Magistrates Court this morning after blockading a convoy of US Marine Humvees inside Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area yesterday.
The police brief of evidence tendered in Graeme’s case stated that “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”.
The Prosecution applied for bail conditions aimed at preventing Mr Dunstan from inciting others to protest. However the Magistrate stated that it is “a free country” and refused the application.
Greg Rolles was charged with Trespass on Commonwealth Land under the Commonwealth Crimes Act, to which he entered a plea of guilty. An hour before court Greg was also charged with a crime under the Defence Act (1903) relating to the possession of a photographic device, one he will contest. His matters have been adjourned for two weeks, and Greg was released on bail.
Graeme Dunstan was also charged with trespass, possessing a photographic device and breaching bail conditions resulting from his involvement in a Ploughshares action in which an Australian army Tiger Attack helicopter was disabled with a blow from a mattock during the 2011 Talisman Sabre.
He pleaded guilty to all charges and was fined a total of $940. In his pre-sentencing statement, his lawyers tabled print outs of Graeme’s Peacebus website which he said detailed 38 years of committed peaceful action (http://www.peacebus.com).
In his final statement, the Magistrate referred to the Nuremberg principles which compel citizens to disobey bad or unjust laws. He indicated that he did not see that those principles applied here.
There are currently 28,000 Australian and US troops undertaking joint military training in Australia, with a focus on the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area.
Mr Rolles and Mr Dunstan cite their opposition to the current wars that Australia had been led into by the US military alliance as key reasons for their action.
“Talisman Saber is about the US military training the Australian military to fight future US wars,” said Mr Dunstan.
For further media comment, contact Graeme Dunstan 0407 951 688
Photos of the pair on their release and time in Shoalwater Bay are available on request