Activists get community work, fines

SENTENCING: Lucy Lawless and Greenpeace activists arrive at the New Plymouth District Court.
SENTENCING: Lucy Lawless and Greenpeace activists arrive at the New Plymouth District Court.

Seven Greenpeace activists, including actress Lucy Lawless, found guilty of illegally boarding the Noble Discoverer drillship have been sentenced to community work and fined.

But they have managed to avoid having to pay $600,000 in reparations to Shell Todd.

In the New Plymouth District Court today, Judge Allan Roberts said it was unfair to order further reparation to Shell Todd, which could take its claim to the civil courts.

Judge Roberts sentenced the activists to 120 hours community work and ordered them to pay Port Taranaki $651.44 each.

The group was charged after illegally boarding the drill ship Noble Discoverer in February 2012, delaying its departure from Port Taranaki in New Plymouth.

The group breached port security, scaling the ship's drilling rig and remaining camped there for more than 70 hours to protest against Shell's intention to drill for oil in Arctic waters.

Yesterday Lawless  appeared under her real name Lucy Tapert along with, Jan Raoni Hammer, Mike Buchanan, Shayne Comino, Vivienne Hadlow, Shai Naides, Zach Penman and Ilai Amir.

In June, the group pleaded guilty to charges of illegally boarding a ship.

They changed their plea after the initial charge of burglary was downgraded to the illegal boarding charge.
They were to be sentenced in September and this was postponed until November and again until today.

In a statement, Shell Todd general manager Rob Jager said the company had always supported the efforts of law enforcement over the incident and to deter such activity in the future.

''That extended to supporting the police's case for reparation,'' he said.  ''Our primary concern during the occupation in February last year was the safety of all concerned; the same value that continues to be at the heart of our business today along with operating in an environmentally sound manner.

''STOS recognises the right of individuals to express their point of view and protest in a manner that does not place the safety of people or property at risk.

''We continue to extend our offer of an open conversation where there is a real desire to find solutions.''

Taranaki Daily News