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Wednesday, March 17

Waihopai acquittal victory for peace movement

Green MP Keith Locke has greeted the acquittal of three men who slashed a dome at the Waihopai spy base as a victory for the peace movement.

The three men, Adrian Leeson, Sam Land and Peter Murnane, were acquitted on charges of intentional damage and burglary this afternoon after proceedings in the Wellington District Court lasting nearly two weeks.

“This is a great victory for the peace movement, which has long campaigned to close down Waihopai, a foreign spy base on our soil,” said Mr Locke, Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson.

“The jury seems to have recognised that the genuine intention of the three men was to advance the cause of peace.

“I hope that the not guilty verdict will help break down the blanket of secrecy that successive governments have imposed around the operations of the base, and its true purpose.

“Evidence presented at the trial, including from former British agent Katharine Gun, showed that the Waihopai spy base was collecting intelligence to help the United States government. This included intelligence to help the United States prosecute the Iraq war, even though the New Zealand government was opposed to that war.”