Guilty verdict in Tiger Helicopter trial – defendent awaits sentencing

Rockhampton jury reaches verdict in Tiger Helicopter trial

 After three days of hearings and deliberation, a Rockhampton jury has found Graeme Dunstan guilty of wilful damage to Commonwealth property. Sentencing is expected to take place at 2:30pm this afternoon.

After two days of hearings and a morning of summary arguments, the jury could not reach a unanimous decision, with two of the ten jurors unconvinced of Mr. Dunstan’s guilt.  The jury then reviewed evidence presented during the trial and reconvened to later bring forth a unanimous guilty verdict this morning.

Despite the guilty verdict, Mr.Dunstan remains positive stating “We were successful in putting war on trial.”

Sentencing is expected to take place at 2:30pm this afternoon.  Judge Nick Samios has indicated that a custodial sentence is unlikely.

ImageReverend Simon Moyle  (R) appeared as a witness for Mr. Dunstan (L)

After two days of hearings and a morning of summary arguments, the jury could not reach a unanimous decision, with two of the ten jurors  unconvinced of Graeme Dunstan’s guilt.  The jury then reviewed evidence presented during the trial and reconvened to later bring forth a unanimous guilty verdict this morning.

Some background:   Mr Dunstan supported pacifist Bryan Law, now deceased, in an action of disarmament in 2011 during the Talisman Saber US- Australian military exercises.

The jury had been shown footage released by Bradley Manning of a US helicopter killing civilians in Iraq.  A closed military court  has just demoted Mr Manning and sentenced  him to  35 years  and dishonorable discharge for releasing the footage – now known as the “Collateral Murder” footage, which clearly exposes war crimes committed by the US military.  Despite the severity of the military court sentencing, Mr Manning has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his actions.  (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-27/bradley-manning-nominated-for-nobel-peace-prize/3855944)

The jury viewed the footage, and heard related testimony from Australian peace activist Donna Mulhearn who had traveled to Iraq as a “Human Shield” in 2003. Reverend Simon Moyle also gave testimony about both christian pacifism and the Ploughshare movement and his personal experiences in Afganistan.

Footage released by Bradley Manning via WikiLeaks  and shown in court  in Rockhampton can be seen here:

http://www.collateralmurder.com/

Photos outside Rockhampton Ploughshares Trial rmembering those killed in the Collateral Murder footage and those who took the risk to release it are availble on the Peace Convergence site:  https://peaceconvergence.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/day-3-tiger-ploughshare-trial/

PRESS CONTACT in Rockhampton:  Simon Moyle mobile/cell ph. no. 0402 857 915  or Treena Lenthall 0447 851 858

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Day 4: Tiger Ploughshare trial continues as Nobel Prize nominee Bradley Manning begins 35 year sentence for telling the truth

548323_10151839528757429_470130004_nThe Tiger Ploughshares trial resumes today after the jury failed to come to an unanimous verdict.  The jury deliberated for five hours after two days of hearings and a morning of summary statements left two jurors unconvinced of Graeme Dunstan’s guilt in charges of wilful damage of Commonwealth property.

Mr Dunstan supported pacifist Bryan Law, now deceased, in an action of disarmament in 2011 during the Talisman Saber US- Australian military exercises.

The jury had been shown footage released by Bradley Manning of a US helicopter killing civilians in Iraq.  A closed military court  has just demoted Mr Manning and sentenced  him to  35 years  and dishonorable discharge for releasing the footage – now known as the “Collateral Murder” footage, which clearly exposes war crimes committed by the US military.  Despite the severity of the military court sentencing, Mr Manning has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his actions.  (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-27/bradley-manning-nominated-for-nobel-peace-prize/3855944)

The jury viewed the footage, and heard related testimony from Australian peace activist Donna Mulhearn who had traveled to Iraq as a “Human Shield” in 2003. Reverend Simon Moyle also gave testimony about both christian pacifism and the Ploughshare movement and his personal experiences in Afganistan.

Footage released by Bradley Manning via WikiLeaks  and shown in court  in Rockhampton can be seen here:

http://www.collateralmurder.com/

Photos outside Rockhampton Ploughshares Trial rmembering those killed in the Collateral Murder footage and those who took the risk to release it are availble on the Peace Convergence site:  https://peaceconvergence.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/day-3-tiger-ploughshare-trial/

The Tiger Ploughshare trial continues…

PRESS CONTACT in Rockhampton
Simon Moyle mobile/cell ph. no. 0402 857 915

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Stand By Graeme Dunstan #StandbyGraemeD

V4P-UKThis story and video are reposted from: http://wiseupaction.info/2013/08/10/australian-who-took-action/

Australian who took action to stop another Collateral Murder faces trial in Rockhampton, Aus. 19th August

In July 2011, peace activists Bryan Law and Graeme Dunstan took part in a Ploughshares action to disable a helicopter gunship during joint US/Australian Talisman Sabre military exercises. Before the action Bryan referred to the Collateral Murder video saying:

“Machine guns mounted on a US Apache helicopter, possibly even one that will attend Talisman Sabre, killed innocent journalists and wounded children in Iraq in 2007 as shown in the collateral murder film which sparked the Wikileaks controversy.”

In the event, it was another helicopter gunship, the Tiger, that became the target for the Australian action. Tiger helicopters are equipped to carry turreted-cannon, rockets and the same Hellfire air-to-ground missiles used by Apaches. Like the Apache, the Tiger has the capability to detect and engage targets (that often turn out to be civilians) at long distances.

Bryan died earlier this year and Graeme faces trial alone (from August 19) in Rockhampton, Australia.

Graeme needs your support and solidarity. Use #StandbyGraemeD hashtag on twitter.

For more about the acts of mercy that have landed Graeme and others including Bradley Manning and Julian Assange in jeopardy, see this page :http://wiseupaction.info/australian-graeme-dunstan-on-trial-19th-august/

For more information and details of how to support Graeme, see this page:
http://wiseupaction.info/two-helicopter-gunships-two-stories-of-compassion-and-resistance/

or the Peace Convergence blog.

For more information: http://wiseupaction.info/2013/08/10/australian-who-took-action/

Reflections on court from the gallery

Some Reflections on the Trial from supporters in the court gallery

gallery

Day one:  Tricycles For Peace – Dawn Joyce

Independent filmmaker David Bradbury is now using a pineapple tricycle, a market stall vehicle, to ferry his gear around Rockhampton as he documents the Rocky Tiger Ploughshare trial.

Peacebus activist Graeme Dunstan was in court  yesterday defending his actions to support a symbolic gesture that centres on a garden mattock, a red tricycle, and an attack helicopter.

The prosecution team has an unlimited budget while the defence team of some twenty activists is billeted with local supporters.

In court yesterday, Graeme helped to reduce costs by agreeing that a number of Darwin based prosecution witnesses be heard via audio link.

But let’s go further, Graeme says:  Let’s abandon the purchase of military hardware like these helicopters that cost $40 million each. Then we can fund schools and hospitals both at home and abroad.

The trial continues today.

Dawn Joyce

Day one  – Andrew Paine

Today was day one of Graeme Dunstan’s trial for the disarming of an attack helicopter in 2011 with Bryan Law. There were over 20 supporters made it to Rockhampton to support Graeme, and loads more support pouring in from around the world.

Graeme represented himself after being denied legal aid, but spoke passionately about the reasons for his action – his buddhist faith and lifelong work for peace. He also quoted the biblical prophecy that nations would beat their swords into ploughshares and study war no more, and talked of the history of “ploughshares” actions that have tried to enact it.

The day was taken up by jury selection and prosecution witnesses, there will be several more prosecution witnesses tomorrow and hopefully (if allowed) defence witnesses. Most likely a verdict in the next couple of days.

Four activists also face a mention in court tomorrow morning for a blockade of the barracks gates during the Talisman Saber war games last month.

Day two – Andrew Paine

Day two of Graeme Dunstan’s ploughshares trial in Rockhampton. The day began with the final two prosecution witnesses, then the defence’s case began.

It opened with Graeme Dunstan himself taking the witness stand. He told of his own experiences in the military and his long commitment to peace activism. He then talked about the Talisman Sabre exercises, the US empire and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite objections from the prosecution, the defence was allowed to go into the details of the overseas wars, the “context that makes the facts”.

The other two defence witnesses were allowed to give testimony despite further objections from the prosecution. Reverend Simon Moyle spoke of his experiences in war-affected Afghanistan and the history of the Ploughshares movement.

Donna Mulhearn also spoke of firsthand experiences in a warzone, telling of her time in Iraq where Australian forces decimated cities, and helicopters not just killed thousands of civilians, but inspired constant fear just from their sound. “Helicopters,” she said “are not neutral pieces of equipment.”

The other remarkable moment was when, again despite prosecution objections, the magistrate allowed the “Collateral Murder” video to be shown as evidence. The video, leaked by Bradley Manning, depicts a US Apache helicopter (with the same weapon capabilities as the Euro Tiger helicopter damaged at Rockhampton) gunning down 11 civilians and wounding two children. “Haha look at those dead bastards” says a soldier in one of the more chilling parts of the video.

The video wasn’t even allowed as evidence in Bradley Manning’s trial, so it was a little victory in what was a great day for the defence. Again the courtroom and the footpath in front of the court were packed with supporters, the case was publicised around the world, support actions were staged in Brisbane and Melbourne, and the witnesses spoke powerfully.

Both parties will make their closing statements tomorrow morning, after that the jury will give their verdict.

Day three –   Andrew Paine

Day three of Graeme Dunstan’s ploughshares trial in Rockhampton. A completely nerve-wracking and unpredictable day. The day began with a solidarity action for Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and other whistle blowers being persecuted by governments.

After we entered the court, both parties gave their closing statements. Graeme Dunstan spoke of the cost of the wars, wars he said “were not just against Afghanistan and Iraq, they were against the UN and against civil liberties”. He gave a history of non-violent direct action, from the Quakers in the 17th century to Gandhi’s “satyagraha”, and then gave in great detail, one final time, the story of the action taken by he and Bryan Law. He called upon the conscience of the jury. “Hold fast to the truth,” he said “and the truth will prevail.”

Following this, the prosecution’s closing statement was much shorter. They steered clear of any moral arguments and stuck to the facts, saying the only issue was whether the evidence proved that Graeme Dunstan aided Bryan Law in wilfully damaging commonwealth property.

The judge then summed up the case. He offered no legal defence for Graeme, and reiterated that it was the facts of the evidence that the jury had to consider. The outcome seemed a forgone conclusion.

So it was that at about 11:30, the case was left up to the jury to deliberate the verdict. At lunchtime we were told that they were going to re-examine Graeme’s police interview video. An interesting development. As the afternoon went on there was no word. And then, late in the afternoon, came the announcement that the jury had failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

The court was in shock, including the magistrate and the prosecution. The jury were given more time, but were still unable to reach a verdict and so at half past five, after a long and nervous day, we were all sent home and told to come back tomorrow.

Once again, today the courtroom was full of supporters. There were banners and flags out the front, and people singing of swords being beaten into ploughshares. As the day went on, the belief got stronger that we may just witness what we thought was impossible. Hopefully we will find out tomorrow.

Jury unable to reach verdict after six hours in Rockhampton Tiger Ploughshares Trial

law

Media Release 21 August 2013

 

Jury unable to reach verdict after six hours in Rockhampton Tiger Ploughshares Trial

 

After six hours on day three of the Rockhampton Tiger Ploughshares Trial the jury was unable to deliver a unanimous verdict. The jury was sent out twice and returned both times without a decision reached – ten voting guilty and two not guilty. The judge sent the jury home and will seek further clarification from the defence and prosecution on how to proceed in the morning.

Evidence in the landmark trial has included the now infamous WikiLeaks “Collateral Murder” footage leaked by Bradley Manning (to be sentenced tonight). The footage shows Iraqi civilians being gunned down by US military in an Apache helicopter. Baptist Minister Reverend Simon Moyle (Voices for Creative Non-violence delegate in Afghanistan) and journalist Donna Mulhearn (former human shield and human rights observer in Iraq) also gave evidence of their experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mr Dunstan (71) of the Tiger Ploughshares Action was charged with damage to Commonwealth property during the Talisman Saber exercise in 2011. Mr Dunstan assisted the now deceased Bryan Law who rode a large red tricycle across the Rockhampton airport tarmac and disabled an Australian Army Tiger Attack Reconnaissance Helicopter in a creative act of disarmament. Mr Law used a garden mattock to deliver a blow to the military helicopter. The action was inspired by the biblical prophecy of ‘Beating Swords into Ploughshares’ meaning taking action to convert killing machines such as the Tiger helicopter into ploughshares or agricultural tools that promote life.

Mr Dunstan of Peacebus.com is representing himself with the help of a legal support friend Sean O’Reilly of Brisbane.

Supporters of Mr Dunstan will gather on

Thursday 22 August

9am Procession from ‘Havachat’ 20 East St to Rockhampton District Court

9.30am Peace Vigil outside Rockhampton District Court

Photos available on request and on:  https://peaceconvergence.wordpress.com

Further information

Simon Moyle 0402 857 915 or Treena Lenthall 0447 851 858

https://peaceconvergence.wordpress.com/ploughshares-trial/

FaceBook event http://www.facebook.com/events/169657596540366/191435557695903/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity

Action footage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-0Du_F1P1w

Collateral Murder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0

Downloadable flyer:  http://tiny.cc/vy4v1w

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