Brenner Protesters – not over yet

July 23, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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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.”


7 Responses to “Brenner Protesters – not over yet”
  1. Michael says:

    If a large grease spot appeared on the ground in a shopping centre and was not cleaned up for several hours and James Crafty was to slip and fall on it and injure himself, who would he hold responsible? Can he and his lawyer guarantee that he would not join the owner and manager of the centre to any legal proceedings he brought?

  2. James says:

    It really says something that this website is presenting the inverse of what every single other news website is saying which is that 11 out of 16 people had all their charges dropped! The two key charges which everyone had trespass and beset were removed because Garnett ruled that it was a peaceful protest and that we had every right to be there.

    The remaining charges are all related to protesters resisting arrests on trespass and beset or hindering the arrest of others who were arrested on trespass and beset. So basically if the police hadn’t made arrests that couldn’t be held up in court these flow on arrests wouldn’t have occurred.

    The framing of this article is also extremely misleading because the police presented such a weak case with their 30 witnesses who gave evidence over four weeks that the defence lawyers presented a “no case” plea. Meaning that even before the defence bothers to mount a defence, they say the burden of proof lies with the prosecution and that the prosecution evidence couldn’t possibly hold the charges. Even with the 5 remaining cases those charges could still be dismissed because they could not be proven “beyond reasonable doubt.” However all the other charges were simply dismissed because the charges were obviously stupid in light of events and the bi-laws which govern QV square.

    In terms of the claim that it is ” disturbing that the charges of trespass were dismissed, despite the fact that the demonstrators had refused to leave the shopping centre when they were told to leave by the centre manager,” Garnett ruled that QV’s lanes are to be kept open to the public including protesters 24/7 as applies in the city council bi-laws governing the property. To exclude protesters from the “public” was ruled to be a violation of the Melbourne Human Rights Charter.

  3. Samamtha says:

    Peter Wertheim is obviously not familiar with the actual charges. The tresspass charges were “tresspass in a public place” and “besetting.” The implication here, far from being that you can no longer request that someone leaves you’re property, is in fact that the Queen Victoria square is a public place, and therefore a private entity asking individuals or groups to leave that area has no legally binding authority to do so.

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