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Waihopi Plowshares Claim of Right – 2012

23 March, 2010

The Editor, The Dominion Post, Wellington

Dear Sir;

John Key says he might want to change the law surrounding use of the “claim of right” (following the Waihopai Ploughshares verdict).  But does he know how the law was interpreted by the judge in the trial?  The judge specifically and plainly noted to the court in the time I was observing from the public gallery that the “claim of right” defense was not available for the kind of action which the defendants took at the spy base, and that led to a very narrow direction to the jury by the judge. 

It is unfortunate that the claim of right defense was not allowed.  For the law to be respected it must be relevant.  It must advance the cause of justice, and on a global scale.  The testimony of the three defendants was compelling in describing what the spy base does and what use the intercepted communications (e-mails, phone, etc) are put to.  Actions, such as theirs at the base run by the Government Security Communications Bureau (GCSB) for the American’s National Security Agency, which serve to help prevent the unfair political pressure, torture, and war making which their testimony described, should be viewed as legitimate attempts to advance justice in the world.  Moreover the role of the GCSB might be brought out into the open and debated now in the post-trial commentary.

Sincerely,  Richard Keller

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