31 Aug 2011

Crown granted right to sue men over spy base damage

9:01 pm on 31 August 2011

The Crown has been awarded the right to pursue three men who broke into the Waihopai spy base for damages.

The Crown is seeking $1.2 million from teacher Adrian Leason, Dominican friar Peter Murnane and farmer Sam Land.

In 2008, the men cut through electric fences at the Government Communications Security Bureau base near Blenheim and deflated a 30-metre-high dome covering a satellite dish.

The men were acquitted last year on charges of intentional damage after using a claim of right defence.

They said they were saving lives in Iraq by disrupting satellite transmissions and that the Waihopai base contributes to torture and war.

On Wednesday, the High Court granted the Crown the right to sue the men.

The men say they will appeal against the decision. Father Murnane says the Crown is destined to fail, as the men have no money.

Father Murnane says their acquittal was based on their sincere belief that the base was committing crimes against humanity.