Pine Gap protester in court
A JURY is due to deliver a verdict in the case of a man who allegedly entered the prohibited area around Pine Gap, while taking part in protests last year.
Paul Christie, representing himself, was carrying out “prayer actions” when he was arrested on October 3 last year, in a creek bed near the base.
The 44-year-old had walked overnight to reach the site, in a place called Laura Creek, to pray and sing.
Mr Christie has pleaded not guilty to accusations that he was in a prohibited area without a permit, saying instead that he had been granted permission by the Arrernte people, the traditional custodians of the area around Alice Springs.
In a closing statement yesterday afternoon, Mr Christie said his actions were carried out with “respect and concern”.
“There are times when laws get broken in the service of higher laws,” he told the court.
“I answered a higher calling that gave me no choice.”
Mr Christie said he was acting under the laws of the Arrernte and of the heart.
The case opened on Monday and has considered evidence from 15 witnesses, including many of the AFP officers who made the arrest.
Crown prosecutor Michael McHugh said the accused knew it was a prohibited area.
“He said he had permission from the Arrernte,” Mr McHugh said. “That is not the same as a permit.”