30 Nov 2011

Decision reserved on Occupy Auckland protesters

5:03 am on 30 November 2011

Protesters occupying Aotea Square in Auckland are confident they will win a court battle allowing them to remain in the publicly-owned park.

Trespass orders were issued on Monday night to the Occupy Auckland group which has been in the square since the middle of October.

They are part of a worldwide protest movement against corporate greed that began with the Occupy Wall Street protest in the United States.

On Tuesday, Auckland Council sought an order which would allow police to remove the protesters from the central city square.

The Auckland District Court was told the council thinks the protest is no longer reasonable, as the costs and nuisance to the council and the public for this length of time was unfair.

The courtroom was packed with more than 50 protesters and council representatives waiting to see whether the judge would issue trespass orders, which would set a New Zealand precedent.

The council argued that the impact of the protest on the public outweighs principles of free speech in the Bill of Rights.

Simon Buckingham, a lawyer for the protesters, asked Judge David Wilson to adjourn the matter so protesters have more time to seek legal advice. They asked to be allowed to stay in Aotea Square in the meantime.

Judge Wilson reserved his decision and did not say when this could be expected.

The hearing had to be adjourned briefly as of the protesters was live-streaming it over the internet, despite being told this was not allowed.

Judge Wilson also asked protesters to stop disrupting the court while the Auckland Council opened its case.