It doesn’t pay to be a vandal

The ratbag vandals who destroyed the Waihopai domes have been stung by the Appeal Court.

This is why we need a debtors prison.

Three peace protesters who damaged the Waihopai spy base in Marlborough now face $1.2 million damages claim, after the Court of Appeal found against them.

In 2008, Father Murnane, farmer Samuel Land and teacher Adrian Leason entered Waihopai and punctured an inflatable dome covering a large antennae.  

They believed the operation of the base was contributing to the second Iraq war, and their protest was aimed at exposing it.

The Attorney-General filed trespass charges and sought the cost of repairs to the facility, put at $1.2 million, winning its case in the High Court.

The Appeal Court today dismissed the appeal by the protesters, and made orders for court costs against them.

Dominican friar Father Murnane, who is in his early 70s, has not had a bank account for half a century.

In May he said anyone demanding compensation from him would have to grab him by the ankles and shake him to find any money.

No problem, let the shaking begin.


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  • Nechtan

    About time these clowns were finally held to account. As should any protest action that disrupts any company, firm, etc going about its legal business eg Greenpeace boarding ships delaying sailing and the like.

    • tspoon

      Exactly, unfortunately the judge in that instance was distracted by a particularly nice set of ta-tas and let everyone off. This later ruling by the court of appeal may put a new light on that decision, or at least if there are future occurrences of similar acts.

    • AnonWgtn

      Problem is that they have no money, so bankrupting them will not help.

      • pukakidon

        One of the beardy wierdies has a farm, immediately take that and sell it. I see the Watermelons are angered at the decision, they would prefer the tax payer (you and me) pay for this sort of vandalism. Bunch of drop kicks.

  • Salacious T Crumb

    One can only assume that these activists are also advocates for the rights of drug cartels, paedophile networks, extortionists and terrorists?

  • Michael

    Should we go an burn down the Friary? We can use the claim of right defence as we stopping boys being buggered by deviant Catholic ordained religious orders.

    • Dick Brown

      Yes, but I fear you will have the same success as the people featured in the article.

  • terrynaki

    Good Job,I hope they get stung for the lot.
    Sick of people doing illegal shit and then claiming the moral highground,they make me puke..
    A priest,FFS,if he had a real family to worry about then he may realise life is about dealing in the real world,not semantics,not ideals but trying to do what affects those in their midst,not a world away in a their warpped minds.

  • williamabong

    These clowns knew right from the start this had the potential to go this way, that’s why the farmer amongst them sat his assets in a trust so they couldn’t be collared if a judgement was entered against them.
    To jail them would turn them to martyrs, to let them go is huge slap in the chops for the system, this one is going to have to very carefully thought out, as these smelly hippies know how to work the system, watch this space.
    I can’t see a way the system can win, short of dismantling the trusts and leaving them penniless.

    • Salacious T Crumb

      Deposit them on a Russian oil rig with guns handcuffed to their hands.

    • Trusts can’t be used in that way. If it is clear the Trust was set up to protect against a specific event, I think the Trust can be knocked over. Experts may disagree (please do)

      • rockape

        I seem to remember that applies if within 7 years, I am no expert.

    • metalnwood

      Surely if the mongrel mob set up a trust to start putting their money got from crime there would be a way for the crown to get it. Isn’t this similar, getting money back for crime.

    • Hazards001

      Lost me. How does jail make them martyrs? It’s where they belong. Same as fucking peaceniks that vandalise a military base or spit on soldiers.

      These three aholes need to be made to pay and the rest of the country needs to sit up and take notice.
      I’m sick and fucking tired of my hard earned tax dollar being used to repair their and people like them’s disgraceful and illegal behaviour.

  • I have no problem with people staging protests, even if they are essentially illegal or damage public or private property. But they have to take responsibility for any and all damages.

    To be able to walk up to a Government facility, do $1.2M of damage and then walk away saying you only did it to raise awareness and you have god and morality on your side is a precedent that could similarly be used to murder someone you target as being immoral and dangerous.

    The court’s decision at the time left me upset and confused. I’m glad some common sense is returning to this situation.

    He can’t pay? Fine. Deprive him of his freedom at the rate of $30,000 per year until he’s “paid off” his fine.

    • Orange

      Sounds about right. There were so many different ways that they could have used to protest that would have been far more prudent. There has to be a strong deterrent for vandals.

    • benniedawg

      Absolutely agree. The most appalling part about this whole thing is who pays if they can’t. Well I work, pay taxes, so I guess it’s me along with all other tax contributors. Have no problem with them protesting, and if you feel vandalism is necessary to get your point across, fine! But don’t squirm away and try and hide behind legal bullshit for your failings. Do the damage, pay the price, end of story.

    • Ryan

      Too ****ing right.

  • Dick Brown

    Quick question for all you lawyers on WO:

    If a larger organisational link can be established to these people and their actions can the said organisation be privately prosecuted; either here or overseas?

    • philbest

      Yeah, it is time some of the money that is going to lefty and greenie groups from super rich libbewwals started to get “garnished” in damages awards.

  • Col

    No pay we send you to see your friends in Russia for the holidays.

  • peterwn

    Father Mumane is protected by extreme poverty – bankrupting him would be almost meaningless. The others will be sweating blood, they either have to find the money or be cleaned out by the Official Assignee. I suspect it will be heading to the Supreme Court and they will lose 4 to 1 – the CJ being the dissenter.

    • Dumrse

      Extreme poverty ? So a 70 year old priest does not qualify for national super….mmmm don’t think it works like that. Take 30% of what ever he gets and take it till whenever it naturally stops.

      • peterwn

        Seems he has been living in Solomon Islands in recent times although he did return for the case. He is probably not eligible for super but may become eligible on his return to NZ. AFAIK WINZ benefits are generally sacrosanct against being ‘attached’ or agreements to use them as security. Tried Googling re NZ Super but nothing definitive to what extent the Official Assignee can dip into that. If he remains in Solomons, Crown could ask Solomoms court to enforce debt, but that would be a futile exercise. If he returned to NZ subsequent to any bankrupcy, Official Assignee could stop him leaving NZ.

        It may be too, that the $1.2M does not need to be shared equally, If Father Munane cannot pay anything then the other two would I think have to pay $0.6M each, and if one can only pay $0.3M say, then the other is up for $0.9M if he has the money/ asset.

  • Patrick

    If they cannot pay put them inside – Mt Eden could do with a preacher man “doing gods work” a farmer to grow a few vegetables & a teacher to upskill the other inhabitants. 30 odd years of these three doing good work would probably settle the debt.

  • AnonWgtn

    They say they may go to the Privy Council to prove what (which has to be on a point of law?)
    – who is paying their lawyers – the Taxpayer so.
    Some Greenie pro bono trying to make a name for themselves.

    • peterwn

      They have no access to Privy Council. It is only available when the matter (or initial trial or something like that) occurred before the Supreme Court was set up.

  • Ryan

    There’s a clear line between peaceful protest and out right vandalism and destruction of property and these “protestors” have clearly crossed that line and they should pay for it to the fullest extent possible.Perhaps the Government could politely ask Putin to re-open a gulag and send them to be imprisoned in it and made to do hard labour such as in the coal mines of Russia.