Peace Pilgrims: evidence on why, not if they were at Pine Gap

p2499k Peace Pilgrim Jim Dowling 430By KIERAN FINNANE

Updated 17 November 2017 6.53pm: correction of final exchange between Mr Dowling and Sgt Napier. 

 

The five Peace Pilgrims defending their actions in the Supreme Court are continuing their efforts to put before the jury evidence of why, not if,  they were found within the boundaries of the Pine Gap military facility in the early hours of 29 September last.

 

Right: Pilgrim Jim Dowling during the lunch break today.

 

Jim Dowling, cross-examining witness Sergeant Kenneth Napier of the AFP’s Protective Services, an employee at the base for some 25 years, asked if security at the base had been beefed up after the incursion onto it by peace activists 10 years ago.

 

Yes, answered Sgt Napier.

 

Mr Dowling asked whether Raytheon was a large private defence contractor at the base.

 

Objection on relevance by the Crown.

 

Mr Dowling explained that this would be relevant to the group’s defence, that they were trying to avert imminent disaster and death of themselves and others. They would be presenting evidence that Raytheon is one of the world’s largest suppliers of weapons, and Pine Gap’s involvement in providing targeting information for those weapons.

 

Crown Prosecutor Michael McHugh said Justice John Reeves knew the Crown’s views about such a defence, but setting that aside, if this information went to the jury but they were later told to ignore it that would be a difficulty for them. The jury would take his directions, but it would be better if it could be avoided.

 

Justice Reeves said he would allow a question about Raytheon being a major contractor.

 

Sgt Napier said Raytheon is no longer a service provider at Pine Gap.

 

Mr Dowling asked was he talking about taking out the garbage or cleaning the toilets, or about the equipment involved in spying around the world.

 

Justice Reeves said he would only allow questions regarding Raytheon at Pine Gap, not more broadly.

 

 

Mr Dowling asked whether Raytheon was the largest private defence contractor operating at Pine Gap. Sgt Napier said he didn’t know.

 

The trial continues.

 

 

 

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