Another G20 Trial - Sydney Activists face County Court in Melbourne

The trial of two Sydney activists began in the Melbourne County Court today. Tim and Sunil are facing two counts each of aggravated burglary, which can carry a 25-year jail term, for allegedly walking into offices on ‘Corporate Engagement Day’ two and a half years ago with nothing more than glitter and water pistols. They each also face two counts of criminal damage and and unlawful assembly for the same incidents, which were part of protests against the G20 meeting in Melbourne in November 2006. They are fighting extremely serious charges for what was a benign and fairly standard action.

Updates on the course of the trial will be posted day by day as comments, in the same way as with the previous trial.



Update on Day 1 -


"There were brief mentions in the morning and again at 2.30.

"A main feature was that the prosecution have suddenly decided that they have some footage taken by someone at defence force recruiting after protesters had left, that they want to introduce to help prove that damage occurred. Why it takes them two and a half years to find was not discussed.[...] There will be more discussion about this footage and whether it can be used once the defence lawyers have seen it and got information on its provenance.

"Other issues concerned whether there is an amount of intended damage that the prosecution needs to prove in order for the offence of aggravated burglary to be proved.

"There will be more such [...] arguments starting from 11am tomorrow. The current plan is for a jury to be empanelled from 2.15. This should mean that witnesses and all the rest of it should start from Wednesday morning. There was no further discussion of how long it's all expected to go.




Love & Solidarity

How ironic that two unarmed activists are being tried with "aggravated burglary" for daring to protest against the corporate thieves stealing from us all. This case sounds the most outrageous one yet from the disproportionate response of the state to the anti-g20 protests. Good luck in court!

Tuesday court report;

This is what happened today:

The jury was empannelled. One person asked to be excused because he said that he thought he might be too sympathetic towards the defendants as anti-war protesters.

The trial is set to start in earnest tomorrow. It's set to run from 10am to 3.45 each day, with a break from 12.30 to 1.45 for lunch, for an estimated 5 to 7 days.

It appears also that the above-mentioned footage of 'damage' at Defence Force Recruiting can't now be found, so the Crown won't be producing it after all ...


The prosecution opening took up the morning. They set out their version of the facts.

They said that a group of people entered the offices of Tenix, a company that has one department involved in the defence industry and another involved in services in to law enforcement. They said that the aim of this group was to protest the defence industry which Tenix is involved in. They said that at least one person squirted a water pistol around and at least one person spread glitter around saying that it represents the blood that Tenix has shed in Iraq. They said that this protest caused damage to property ie the walls, that had some pictures stuck on them, and at least one item of computer equipment, a printer, which ran a bit slowly for a little while but corrected itself.

They said that about 40 minutes later a group entered offices of Defence Force Recruiting, on Swantson St. They said that this group tried to enter a secure area of the office and a "significant commotion took place" when several staff confronted the group, that "anti-defence type slogans were read out," and that more red glitter was thrown around.

The Prosecution case is that both Tim and Sunil played "leadership roles" in the protest, and that even if they aren't guilty in their own right of the offences they were guilty because they aided and abetted other people. The prosecution then went through what has to be proved for each of the offences of aggravated burglary, unlawful assembly and unlawful damage.

Tim's defence lawyer talked about the context of the events - that they had occurred when the G20 meeting had come to town, and that this meeting had attracted people who wanted to have their voices heard on issues such as war, global poverty and global warming, and that that's why Tim had come to Melbourne. He said that these issues generate strong arguments on both sides: but that they aren't the issue in this trial. He said that the issue is about exercising the legitimate right to protest, and where boundaries should be placed on it in a democracy. He said that protest might be unexpected, unwelcome, inconvenient or challenging, but this doesn't make it unlawful.

He said that the jury has to decide if protesters have a leadership structure, and if Tim can really be held responsible for the actions of others. He said that these are crimes of intent and that at all times the protest was intended to be peaceful and lawful.

Sunil's defence lawyer said the demonstrations only went for a matter of minutes. He asked whether evidence of symbolic protest against war was evidence of criminal intent to commit serious offences. He said that the Crown is the state, which has huge resources and power.

After lunch the receptionist from Tenix gave evidence and another Tenix employer started her evidence. Then court was adjourned until 11.15 am tomorrow morning.

We are good at dishing out blame for everything that goes "wrong". Who is to blame? How to fix it.

click on the link "Rotten Government" to watch the video.

Hey "Rotten Government" the Rotten Christianity u peddle is just as rotten as the gubbament, Christianity is the cause of great genocide, land theft & the assimilation of Indigenous peoples the world over, take your crap elsewhere.

On Friday we had the last witnesses from Tenix, then the first Defence Force Recruiting witness in the afternoon. The morning was a bit concerning - they're really trying to make a big deal of the water pistol. The afternoon was absurd.

Court's set to resume 10am Monday morning. There are 4 more Defence Force Recruiting witnesses, some booked to appear via video link.

Court Monday:

Today there three Defence Force Recruiting witnesses. The first two appeared via video link. The third had a lot of trouble making up his mind about the description of the person he saw making leadership 'hand signals' ie pointing.

Court adjourned early, it should start at 11 tomorrow. There's one witness from Defence Force left.

Today we had the last two witnesses - someone from Defence Force Rectruiting and Detective Senior Constable Steven Hill. Hill was part of Taskforce Salver, and after it was dissolved has been responsible for prosecuting the G20 cases. Best quote: 'I've never presented a case before based solely on the sprinkling of fairy dust, no."

The jury was then dismissed and various submissions were heard. One key point is that the Aggravated Burglary is now clearly defined by the prosecution as occurring at the moment of entry to the lift foyers of each buildings, not at the time of entry to any secure/private areas. This is probably good for the defence in this case; it does also suggest an attempt to severely criminalise any act of office occupation.

There were a number of other legal points and questions raised by the defence. The prosecution will reply to these tomorrow morning then the judge should rule on what charges are going to be placed before the jury and how they'll be put. The jury is scheduled to return after lunch tomorrow. If this schedule is followed that means that the prosecution closing should occur tomorrow afternoon, to be followed by the defence closings.

At the moment it looks like we should have a verdict by thursday or at least by friday. we'll have more of an idea about that by tomorrow evening and i'll try to make an earlier report.

Court resumes tomorrow at 10am.

Hey, just wanted to say thanks for these updates and good luck to all for the next few days.

We had legal arguments in the morning. Only one more of the defence submissions had any success. On the Criminal Damage the prosecution agreed to amend their statement of facts and ask the judge to say that the jury had to all agree that criminal damage occurred to each and every item on the list if they are going to return a guilty verdict. This means that for Tenix the jury all have to agree that damage occurred to computer equipment,pamphlets, pamphlet display stands and walls. for Defence Force Recruiting they all have to agree that damage occurred to posters, pamphlet display stands and walls. this was an offer made by the prosecution in response to a submission: the judge wasn't going to require it.

Other than that the judge rejected all of the defence submissions. Of particular significance is that he ruled that there does not have to be any threshold on the amount of damage intended for Aggravated Burglary to be found. There doesn't have to be an intent to cause significant damage.

In other words, the prosecution are now arguing that entering the reception area of a building to protest with intent to cause even the most minor amount of damage can be charged with Aggravated Burglary. Obviously this has implications well beyond this case.

Another key defence submission, which was rejected but can be put to the jury, is whether the defendants actually committed trespass, or whether there was a general public right of entry to the two reception areas. Trespass is one of the things that has to be proved for the jury to find that our friends comitted Aggravated Burglary.

After lunch the jury came back and the prosecution started their closing argument. It featured a great number of words and phrases like 'invasion', 'aggressive', 'insulting', 'provocation', 'nasty', 'frightening', 'swarm in and make themselves at home', 'manned the lifts for a quick getaway', 'sentinels', 'the getaway driver', 'military techniques', 'leaders', 'ringleader', 'damage'.

He only got through the first charge, the alleged Aggravated Burglary at Tenix, arguing that Sunil is guilty in his own right and Tim is guilty of aiding and abetting.

He will continue tomorrow. Hopefully he'll finish in time for the defence closings to begin tomorrow too. We were told that it should end on Friday but might continue until Monday.

Thanks so much for the updates - we're thinking of you. Hoping it all gets thrown out like it should x

It's late and I'm tired, so this is the very short report.

The prosecution finished their closing. The two defence lawyers gave their respective closings. They were really good and had many bits worth quoting when I can be bothered with the typing. The judge then started his summary.

The judge said that tomorrow he will give the jury the choice of either retiring tomorrow afternoon or on Monday morning. Seeing as how the jury look like they want to get out of there, I assume they'd choose tomorrow arvo. The problem is whether or not the judge will have actually finished giving the charges, which seems like it's going to go forever, and also court only starts at 11.30 am tomorrow.

Love & solidarity to Tim & Sunil their families, friends & supporters

Lou is, or should be, taking a rest this evening ... so this is me filling in:
No verdict yet
The judge finished his charge after lunch today and sent the jury out just after 3pm. They had already indicated they wanted to go home at 3.45 and resume on Monday, so the court will resume sitting at 10am on Monday, with a verdict possible, I suppose, pretty much any time after that - though probably not immediately, as there was still some document they had to be provided with to guide them, and it wasn't going to be ready until Monday ...


Monday - still no verdicts.
The jury decided not to meet before 10am, when the court was to be reconvened, and it was only after that that they were provided with the legal advice document that was still being prepared on Friday. At about 3.30 they sent through a list of questions relating to aspects of the unlawful assembly and criminal damage charges, followed by more questions arising from the answers to the first set. Court rose at 4.45 and will reconvene at 11am tomorrow, Tuesday.


Good luck guys. Am thinking of you all in melbourne

Tuesday - still waiting
The jury sent word this afternoon about 3 that they had reached a verdict on ten counts, but "stalemate" on one count for each defendant. They asked for guidance, and the judge called them in to tell them to go out again and try better - still holding out for a unanimous verdict. Present word is they will meet again at 10am tomorrow, with the court reconvening at 10.30. If there is no word from them by 11.30 the judge is expected to call them in and take the ten agreed verdicts, leaving the question of the two remaining ones still to be determined.
Back at court tomorrow at 10.30.

ps - it appears that a 'majority' verdict means 11-1, not 10-2 etc

They were found either not guilty or no agreement could be made by the jury on all charges, except for one charge of unlawful assembly in the case of Sunil, or so I'm told. Lou or someone will probably give a better summation once the dust settles.

The verdicts in full:

Count 1 Aggravated Burglary at Tenix- Not Guilty
Count 2 Unlawful Assembly .. .. - *Guilty*
Count 3 Criminal Damage .. .. - Not Guilty
Count 4 Aggravated Burglary at Defence - Not Guilty
Count 5 Unlawful Assembly .. .. - *No Verdict*
Count 6 Criminal Damage .. .. - Not Guilty


Count 1 Aggravated Burglary at Tenix - Not Guilty
Count 2 Unlawful Assembly .. .. - Not Guilty
Count 3 Criminal Damage .. ..- Not Guilty
Count 4 Aggravated Burglary at Defence - Not Guilty
Count 5 Unlawful Assembly .. .. - *No Verdict*
Count 6 Criminal Damage .. .. - Not Guilty

The Crown has announced its intention to proceed to a new trial on the two counts where the jury was unable to reach either a unanimous or a majority verdict, and a mentions hearing is set for 14 August.


For fucks sake, the crown are vindictive and nasty, oh well looks like they want to hear not guilty again

Congratulations on being found not guilty on nearly all counts, particularly the ridiculous aggravated burglary charge! Thank goodness for the jury system, as a judge probably would have found them guilty. Solidarity and congratulations to the activists involved, first for their actions in targeting the war machine and on staying strong during the case as the state has tried to persecute them.

Really glad to hear most of that !
- except the guilty charge for Sunil.
So what does it mean?
Do we wait now to see what the sentence is for that ?
Can it be appealed ? Especially since it seems so ludicrous that two people in the same place can have different results on that charge.
Shame about the going through it all again and wasting all your time again through August, but so glad to hear about most of the charges.

Does anyone know if there is any news from the mentions hearing?