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HomeIssue 10Five Peace Pilgrims guilty on all counts

Five Peace Pilgrims guilty on all counts

24100 pilgrims guilty 1 OKBy KIERAN FINNNANE
UPDATED (see below).
The jury took just half an hour to finalise their deliberations this morning.
They found the five Peace Pilgrims guilty of entering Pine Gap prohibited area on 29 September 2016. This was the verdict of them all.
They also found Andrew Paine guilty of the additional count, possessing a photographic apparatus in the prohibited area.
Sentencing submissions will be made this afternoon.
Peace Pilgrim Paul Christie, whose trial was concluded last week, will be sentenced this afternoon.
Photo above:  Outside the court after the verdict, the Pilgrims remained resolute, putting on a stirring performance of the peace song: “I’m going to lay down my sword and shield down by the riverside, I ain’t going to study war no more”.
UPDATE, 24 November 2017, 4.52pm:
Sentencing of all six Peace Pilgrims, including Mr Christie, has been set down for December 4. They have been bailed to appear from their respective cities of residence, Cairns and Brisbane.
In relation to the five whose trial concluded today, the Crown has called for imprisonment as the only appropriate sentence in the circumstances, although Michael McHugh SC pointed out that imprisonment can take different forms, such as suspended sentences with various conditions.
However,  for the older offenders Margaret Pestorious and Jim Dowling, given their long history of similar offending, Mr McHugh argued for actual time to be served, most particularly for Mr Dowling  who, he said, “to use a colloquialism, is on the street and will continue to offend”.
The younger members of the group might be susceptible to rehabilitation he suggested. However they gave little indication in their submissions that this would be so. They each defended their actions as principled.
Andrew Paine said he had nothing to say on contrition. Tim Webb referred to the “insatiable blood lust of the Commonwealth” and the youngest, 20 year old Franz Dowling with no relevant prior convictions, concluded his submission to the court with a quote from Dorothy Day, a key figure in the Catholic Worker movement and a practitioner of civil disobedience, whom he described as “the greatest woman who ever lived”:
“Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system,” is the famous quote.
She was a “strong character”, commented Franz Dowling, before adding that he could not be a slave to the law of man as long as those laws are able to be broken at whim, resulting in the slaughter of innocents.


  1. Thank you Kieran for such succinct and sustained reporting throughout the Pine Gap Peace Pilgrims trial. Having spent just one hour watching proceedings I now grasp the depth of professional commitment required to sit through many days of often tedious legal argument, and to be able to quickly distill the essence of the case, day by day. We are indeed fortunate to have such an accomplished journalist in our midst.

  2. Yep, I’m with Pip. Kieran has been incredibly skilled and produced beautiful reports of the trial. Please share wildly!

  3. Congratulations to all six Pilgrims!
    Not only have you made a wider impact via the New York Times, but Jim has convinced Mr McHugh that he has not come to the end of his “offending”.
    It is disappointing to hear that the younger ones are still “susceptible to rehabilitation” but I’m confident that they will be able to overcome this tendency!
    With you in solidarity, whatever the outcomes on December 4.

  4. All the best recidivists. I wonder what rehabilitation would look like? A haircut and a job? This should have been thrown out of court as well! George Brandis is weak. Your sentences will be on his soul. In solidarity friends.


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