Ruling Sets Precedent Against Property Rights?

From this morning’s Christchurch Press

A judge’s ruling has virtually cleared the way for peaceful property occupations as a form of protest, an activist says.

Two Happy valley Coal Mine protestors who occupied the roof of Solid Energy’s Christchurch office building in February have had charges dismissed.

Christchurch District Court judge, Stephen Erber ruled that they could not be convicted of being unlawfully on the building when they had no intention of committing “any other offence“.

Speaking outside the court, protestor Daniel Rae said “the ruling gave them a lawful way to protest”.

New Zeal Does this mean what I think it means? Does this mean that Solid Energy, or indeed any other property owner cannot charge someone with trespass, unless they somehow know that the intruder intends to commit theft, burglary, rape, vandalism, murder, arson, or some other offence?

If judge Erber finds a man outside his bedroom wind at 3pm one afternoon and the man refuses to leave, what can he do?

Can judge Erber have him charged with trespass without questioning as to his intentions? If he cannot ascertain his intentions can judge Erber have the man removed? Can he have him prosecuted?

I’m no lawyer, but something doesn’t seem right here.

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6 thoughts on “Ruling Sets Precedent Against Property Rights?

  1. Feel free to check your facts next time, Trev.

    The 3 activists were NOT charged with trespass. They were charged with “unlawfully on a building”.

    In order to be found not guilty of being unlawfully on a building, the defendant simply has to prove they were not there with the intention to commit any other offence.

    One was found guilty because his “other offence” was wilful trespass, having already been trespassed from Solid Energy property.

    The other two, having satisfied the court that they had no intention of commiting any other offence, were found not guilty.

    Trespass, on the other hand, is a totally different charge. In order to be charged with trespass, the occupier (or someone given authority by the occupier) of the property must ask the person to leave, and then if the person does not leave by the fastest possible route, they can be charged. In this case, this was not done.

    Stop Solid Energy! Save Happy Valley!

    http://www.savehappyvalley.org.nz

  2. I reckon that all kiwis concerned by this ruling should protest it by staging a sit-in on the roof of the judge’s Christchurch house.

    Where does it all end???

  3. The difference is Ex, we don’t need laws to make us respect property rights. Even if were legal, we wouldn’t go around trespassing on others property to make a point.

    These kind of precedents suit the socialists, not us.

  4. Yes, but isn’t it time judges received the verdict of the people with regards to their decisions. If we all went and sat on the judges roof as Gary suggested maybe they would get point – the law is an ass (and most judges are asses)

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