Three years on, still fighting for the right to support refugees
On Tuesday 7 March the RAC activists who had been fined in 2020 for our car cavalcade outside the Mantra Hotel, to show support for Medevac refugees detained there, went to Heidelberg Court for a contest mention. We held a brief protest out the front.
The magistrate listened to our lawyer summarise our case: that we were exercising “care and compassion”, one of the permitted reasons for leaving the house, and that we were volunteering as RAC volunteers, again another permitted reason for leaving the house.
The magistrate asked a few questions, and then asked the police why it was in the public interest to pursue us.
He told the prosecutor to go away and make phone calls to ensure that she really did have instructions to pursue the case.
We came back after lunch to hear that yes, she really did have those instructions. She confirmed that our case was with “senior legal” because of its high profile.
The magistrate set yet another mention for 5 May, one last chance for the police to drop it.
Then the magistrate dealt with two of our party who wanted a sentence indication. He essentially gave them a “proven” with no sentence. So they don’t have to pay their fines, and they don’t have a “guilty” conviction recorded either. Another slap to the prosecutors.
RAC activists don’t have to attend on 5 May, so there won’t be a protest. But once we have a date for the real hearing then we’ll welcome as many people as possible to stand up for the right to show solidarity with refugees.