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Thursday, November 10, 2011

High Court quashes Minto's conviction over tennis heckling

John Minto
Veteran protester John Minto has scored a High Court victory after a judged ruled that his megaphone protest against an Israeli tennis player was not disorderly behaviour.
Minto and seven others were convicted and discharged in the Auckland District Court for disorderly behaviour after they used loudspeakers to try and disrupt the ASB Classic tennis at Stanley Street in downtown Auckland last year. They targeted Israeli professional Shahar Pe'er.
They appealed and in a ruling out today, High Court Justice Heath said the issue he had to consider was one of degree.
"It goes without saying that a verbalised protest may offend or disturb a member of the public who either disagrees with what is said or takes umbrage at the disruption of his or her own legitimate activities," the judgment says.
"But disruption to an individual's enjoyment of a sporting event is not the same thing as disruption of public order.
Justice Heath set aside the conviction and said there was no need for the case to go back to the District Court.
The others who won the appeal were Janfrie Wakim, John Darroch, Ruth Amato, Rochelle Rees and Malcolm France.

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