I just got back from Rockhampton, after court yesterday. Here is a brief report.
It was a good day all in all I think.
Four friends drove up with me and a few from Rockhampton joined us. We had banners and placards outside court for the whole trial and handed out leaflets.
The magistrate got quite angry at the start by my usual statement that was I was not pleading guilty or not guilty, as I did not recognize the right of the court to try me, as I thought the court and the police were their to protect the military so there was no point in pleading to such an entity.
He said I could leave then. I asked what would happen, and he backed down, and I stayed in court. I immediately regretted not just leaving, but later again decided it was better to stay.
The prosecution had four witnesses (One police and three army)
I only asked 2 questions of only one witness, “Midge”, (someone with along military title). The prosecution had placed a great photo of our banner,”What have you done? Your Brother’s blood cries out to me form the Earth. Gen4: 10″ on a large screen as exhibit no.I So I asked for it to be displayed again and asked Midge if knew what it referred to. He said not really, as he was not religious. I said had he not heard of Cane killing Able, the first murder, and that these words were God’s response to that murder. He did not really know the story. I then said, “Was it not true that one of main purposes of the Talisman Sabre exercise was to teach soldiers how to kill”
Naturally the prosecutor objected at this stage, and equally naturally, the Magistrate strongly agreed wiht the prosecutor.
But I made the main point I wanted to make.
When it came time for me to give evidence I simply talked about my resistance to war since 2001, how the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan had been unjust wars and caused so much death and destruction, etc etc. I also pointed out the terrorists attacks on Western countries would not be happening if we had not invaded.
I said I had been resisting nonviolently in spirit of Jesus, king, Gandhi, Day etc, and action in July was part of this.
Later in my summing up I said I had no legal argument but merely asked the magistrate to refuse support war making, and refuse to punish peacemakers.
In the end magistrate was quite respectful and only gave me $500 fine as I had spent 3 days in custody after arrest. The prosecutor argued not to take that into account as I had refused bail. I argued the bail was excessive in not allowing me to associate with friends or go back to Have A Chat where I was staying. The magistrate agreed with me!
The magistrate also only allowed $1000 in witness costs when the prosecutor had asked for $3000. I told him I would not be paying anything.
Lots of Media in court and outside, Channels 7 and 9, ABC radio and the Rockhampton Bulletin.
I did not see the TV news reports, not sure how to access them. But here are a couple of links to print media.
A similar story appeared in papers from Mackay to Caboolture.
Thanks to all who were part of the actions, and aftermath!