The 18 arrestees (two of the original 21 had already been processed, one arranged to plead guilty in her absence) turned up at the Yeppoon foreshore on Thursday morning August 2 to process to the courthouse. The sea was like glass, a sensational morning. We danced the hokey pokey then took the banners and walked together to the courthouse.
Finally all was ready and they asked for all the adjournments first – which it turned out included the not guilty verdicts. Luckily one of the experienced guys went first, so he was able to arrange with the magistrate to be excused from appearing at the review mention which she scheduled for October 4th.
After that the procedure was pretty simple; you just went up when you were ready and said your name, the magistrate read you the charge and asked if you understood it, then asked if you wanted the same conditions. Sometimes she asked one or two more questions. Then you were excused. When it came time for my turn, all was going smoothly until I heard my phone start ringing behind me. Julie had it in the bag and couldn’t get it in time to turn it off, so she had to leave. The magistrate was not impressed, but she didn’t know it was mine so she just made a general comment to the gallery and I was done.
Then we went for a drive through Byfield to the Byfield (or Blue Route) gate. I hadn’t been to any of the demos at the gates over the whole Peace Convergence week because we were preparing. This was therefore the only gate I’d been to – it was the gate where we emerged from the base in the police car and they stopped here to arrested us before transferring us to another vehicle for the trip to Rockhampton. It was totally weird to be there – not least because the overwhelming thing at the time was being cold and wet, with the ground totally muddy, and here we were now with dry dust and about 28 degrees. Mostly it just brought back memories though of sitting in the divvy van and staring at this very sign, for about half an hour, just wondering if they were going to press charges or not, and wondering what would happen next.
No police around this time, but a family did drive past us in their car, open the gate, and drive into the base. A very strange feeling.
Afterwards we went back to some local’s houses and had a bonfire and BBQ dinner. Such a beautiful place, and you could see every star in the sky. By the end of the day I was totally exhausted but the day had been really relaxing and wonderful.