Brenner Protesters – not over yet
A Melbourne magistrate has found that five of the sixteen protesters who campaigned outside a Max Brenner store in Melbourne have a case to answer on charges of hindering, assaulting or resisting police.
The five are among a group of sixteen who fronted Magistrate Simon Garnett this morning following a demonstration outside the chocolate shop in Melbourne’s CBD on July 1 last year .
All other charges have been dismissed. A reported 150 to 200 protestors were present at the demonstration with a reported 132 police personnel in attendance.
The charges dismissed related to besetting premises and trespass.
Peter Wertheim, the executive director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said: “Although the charges of obstructing, hindering or impeding members of the public were dismissed, the Magistrate found that five of the 16 defendants still have a case to answer in relation to charges of hindering, assaulting or resisting police. These are serious charges.
However, it is disturbing that the charges of trespass were dismissed, despite the fact that the demonstrators had refused to leave the shopping centre area when they were told to leave by the centre manager. This has implications for the law of trespass generally and for the wider community. It seems counter-intuitive to suggest that someone has the right to remain on your property, or property you are responsible for controlling, when you order them to leave, merely because they say they are expressing their political views. I think most people would find this unacceptable.”