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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
Decision on APEC protest march at 2pm in NSW Supreme Court
Mood:  not sure
Topic: legal


The ABC seem to have mis reported the Supreme Court proceedings of NSW Police Commissioner v Alex Bainbridge matter no. 030096/07 before Judge Michael Adams at 7.00 am this morning in Court 10a of the Common Law Division of the Administrative Law List. Having said that their 1 pm report by their police reporter seems more accurate.

These misreports were at 12 noon and World Today bulletin in these two respects:

1. The evidence to the court from two senior police especially Chief Superintindent Steve John Cullen, Commander of the Riot and Public Order Squad, amounted to a POSSIBILITY of violence. It was NOT ever submitted there was a PROBABILITY of violence.

Rather the issues of public risk appear to be around a POSSIBILITY  of a splinter group might seek to hijack the event.

Whether this is being said outside the court to the media by the police/govt spin doctors is uncertain, but it wasn't the evidence in the court attended for 4 hours this morning by this writer, and as a trained solicitor observer.

2. The change in protest march route was caused by the police and not a back down on the intention of the Stop Bush Coalition to march into Martin Place.  The police barrier at the corner of King and George St was only advised by the NSW police in the last day (4th Sept) to the protest group Stop Bush Coalition. This police barrier across King and George IS THE CAUSE OF THE CHANGE IN ROUTE. The judge admitted this morning he has no power to rule on that barrier given the new police APEC legislation. There is thus no pre emptive buckle by the protest march organisers. Once they became aware that the Supreme Court had no power to decide on the legality of the police barrier at King and George St under "extraordinary, unprecedented" APEC police powers, Bainbridge and others decided to march to the barrier "hold speeches and disperse from there". This apparently is to highlight their intention to take the protest march past the highly "symbolic" US Consulate and War Memorial to protest agaisnt the Iraq War now thwarted by oppressive laws.

Apart from these important clarifications note also

A. The barrister for the NSW Police Commissioner thus applied for a second different order of the court to prohibit this new march route to the King/George St barrier. This will be decided on at 2pm today.

B. In police evidence it was admitted in court that there was no evidence of any of the 30 odd groups including Greens, teachers, others have any involvement in violent tactics. In this sense the organisers and the 30 affiliated groups came out of the hearing this morning smelling like a bunch of roses in terms of their own character and commitment to peaceful protest.

C. In submissions on the so called potential for crowd crush at the King/George St crush the judge noted the crowd estimates are anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000 which affects his assessment. In submissions by barrister Bozic for Council for Civil Liberties acting for Bainbridge, it was pointed out there would be plenty of warning at the start of the march of a halt at King and George, also plenty of points of egress at Park St, Market St and west along King St toward Darling Harbour. The Barrister for Police argued inter alia that the Hilton Hotel is a declared APEC area in George St along the route.

D. It seems very likely to this writer that the police commissioner will get their order against the second march proposal to the King/George St barrier. But as the barrister for the Police said, the commissioner even today would take an application for a march from Town Hall along Park St to Hyde Park in some fashion.

We suspect this is what is likely to happen but time will tell sometime after 2pm.



Posted by editor at 2:36 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2007 3:23 PM NZT

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