1 Sep 2011

Waihopai trio claim they can't pay for spy base damage

11:13 am on 1 September 2011

One of the three men who damaged a dome at the Waihopai spy base says they have no money to pay the Government for the damage.

In a High Court judgement issued on Wednesday, the trio were found liable for the damage and will have to pay for it unless they launch a legal appeal.

The Attorney General was seeking more than $1.2 million from teacher Adrian Leason, Dominican friar Peter Murnane and farmer Sam Land.

They were acquitted last year for an attack on the base in 2008, after arguing they were acting for the greater good by saving lives, including victims of the Iraq war.

However, the High Court ruled the outcome of the criminal trial has little to do with the civil claim for damages, and said it would be setting an unacceptable precendent if it condoned vigilante action.

Father Murnane says the trio cannot pay and will probably appeal.

In the meantime, a hearing is scheduled at the High Court later next month, to look at how much the trio is liable for.