Protest on Trial: Day 9

Tuesday May 15

Senior Constable Steve Oakley testified that he was wearing plain clothes on the night of July 1, and took footage with a hand held device. He was given a piece of paper with names and photographs of certain people, and told to keep an eye out for these people. Other than that, he testified, he was given free reign to videotape anything which he thought may be evidence later on.

Under cross examination, Senior Constable Oakley testified that he he had consistently filmed one woman with a megaphone because “I had identified her before hand as a key organiser”.

Senior Constable Montaduro was a member of the Public Order Response Team on the night of 1 July. He was on standby “until the crowd became a little bit more hostile towards front line members”, at which point he was deployed behind the existing police line outside Max Brenner at QV. There he assisted general duties police to hold back the crowd. Montaduro testified that protestors were pushing both front-on and rear-on to the police line, in one continuous push, for 45 minutes to an hour. Later he had assisted in the arrest of Sue Bolton, one of the accused.

Under cross examination, Senior Constable Montaduro testified that he had taken no notes at the time or after the rally of July 1. He was aware of possible offences including trespass and besetting. He understood that “beset premises” meant “if you are disrupting a premises and it can’t operate in a usual manner”. Entering is made difficult, “or even chanting might make it very disruptive for people wanting to visit”.

Senior Constable Montaduro was “very satisfied” that all the protesters had been warned, had been given opportunity to leave the area, and had failed to do so. When it was suggested that protestors could have been individually asked to leave, he replied that it was “not in their nature to do that at this sort of rally. They’re not going to say we’ll walk away.” It was said to the Senior Constable that, 20 minutes after he had arrested Ms Bolton, the protestors had decided to leave peacefully. He was asked, “does that tell you anything about their nature”. Montaduro replied, “not to me”.

Senior Constable Montaduro agreed that, between the final attempt of Inspector Beattie to direct protestors to leave the area, and the arrest of Ms Bolton, there was approximately 5 seconds.

Under further cross examination, Senior Constable Montaduro agreed that he had not seen the start of any pushing between police and protestors. When it was put to him that his testimony regarding protestors pushing forward on the line was “a nonsense” he disagreed.

Sergeant Saunders was also part of the PORT team on the night of July 1. He gave detailed testimony on the sequence of events involving the arrest of Shane Anderson and Thomas Timms.

Under cross examination, Sergeant Saunders was asked whether he had included verbatim quotes from the video footage in his statement. In particular he was asked whether he had been somewhat selective about a speech by Vashti Kenway which both he and Inspector Beattie quote verbatim in their statements: “OK we’re going to stand here because the police are trying to move us on. I think we should not move on tonight. We are going to stand here and make our point. Right now in Palestine houses are being demolished… so we are not going to move.”

In a further section of the speech, omitted by Sergeant Saunders but quoted by Inspector Beattie, Ms Kenway goes on to say that people should stand firm “because behind you there are lines of police which are now trying to drive us out from here. And I think we need to stand firm and defend our democratic right to make our voice heard in Australia today.”

After detailed cross examination, Sergeant Saunders denied that Shane Anderson had “simply been caught up in” the arrest of Thomas Timms.

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