Conviction against anti-mining protester dropped
A 65-year old woman has been discharged without conviction after being charged with obstruction in September. Linda Gilmore was arrested for obstructing a mining company prospecting in conservation land in the Karangahake Gorge when she chained herself to a gate.
The judge granted her a discharge without conviction when she appeared in the Waihi District Court this afternoon, concluding that “Linda’s sincere protest against mining on conservation land” does not warrant a conviction.
Gilmore says she is thrilled about the outcome.
“It’s a relief - my grandkids would have been proud of me even if I had been convicted because they know it’s about me standing up for them and their generation, but knowing I’m free to keep protesting the mining on conservation land feels awesome.”
"I felt it was important to appeal because I wanted people to see the bigger picture - we're protesting because we believe it's wrong to destroy conservation land and we were left with no other avenues to draw the public's attention to this issue," she says.
Gilmore, a local business owner, who has lived in the area for more than 25 years, says she had the local community in mind when she was arrested for obstruction on the mountain earlier this year.
"I consider myself to be a law-abiding citizen, but in this case, the law was protecting the wrong people - we had no choice but to protect the mountain ourselves."
Linda’s lawyer Thomas Hara says; “It’s a great outcome for Linda - it shows that people who want to protest in New Zealand can do so without fear of conviction.”
Karangahake local Lucy Aitken-Reid says the successful appeal is a win for the whole community.
"We're really proud of Linda for standing up for our community against a giant mining company - it's a win for us, but we can't forget that the mountain is still being mined.
"Mount Karangahake is the heart of our community - the government made a promise last year to extend Schedule 4 legislation to protect Karangahake from mining and we're still waiting," she says.
Forty members of the community came out to show support at the Waihi District Court this afternoon.
Photo credit: Lucy Aitken-Reid
Linda Gilmore and supporters outside Waihi District Court
Linda Gilmore hugs Lawyer