Pine Gap: Protester found guilty of entering top secret US-Australian facility near Alice Springs
A man has been found guilty of entering the top secret Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility near Alice Springs.
Cairns resident Paul Douglas Christie, 44, entered the grounds on October 3 last year.
During the trial, in which Christie defended himself, he said he went into the facility to pray and sing for people he believes have been killed in foreign wars as a result of activities carried out at Pine Gap.
After two days of evidence, the jury took less than half an hour to find Christie guilty.
“As I’ve always asked of the courts, I’m hoping for some understanding and mercy,” he said.
In summing up the case to the jury, Justice John Reeves said he did not expect the maximum sentence of seven years prison to be imposed in Christie’s case.
Sentencing submissions are expected to be made at 3:00pm on Wednesday afternoon and Christie’s bail was extended until that hearing.
When asked if he expected to be sent to jail, Christie said he did not think he would.
‘I live for peace’, protester says
Christie said he had no regrets in defending himself, and in not pursuing some of the legal defences that were available to him.
“Under this legislation the Government’s tied up many strings and made it extremely impossible to challenge, so I didn’t intend to challenge the law I just intended to present my actions for what they were,” he said.
During the trial, in which Christie defended himself, he said he had the permission and blessing of the local Indigenous Arrente people to be on the land.
Speaking out the front of court, Christie said he was not surprised by the unanimous jury verdict.
“I’m feeling still in this space that I was in at the time I was on the land, I’m on purpose and I’m doing what I’m called to do,” he said.
“I live for peace, I work for peace, and I think that is something I will continue to do for the rest of my life.”
A separate trial for five other people accused of breaking into Pine Gap in a several incident is due to start on Thursday.