A police lawyer says a skipper who took part in a protest against deep sea oil exploration off the North Island East Coast risked his life by driving in front of a larger ship that had limited manoeuvrability.
Elvis Teddy is on trial in Tauranga District Court, charged with operating a vessel causing an unnecessary risk and resisting arrest after his boat San Peitro took part in a protest flotilla in April last year.
David Pawson told the court the case is about Mr Teddy steering his boat in front of a survey vessel owned by Brazilian oil company Petrobras.
He says the case is not about usurping any right to protest.
The charges were laid under the Maritime Act.
About a dozen people held placards and banners outside the court on Monday morning, in support of Mr Teddy.
His trial is scheduled to run until Thursday.