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.”

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