Elvis Teddy is going home to Opotiki to go cray fishing after the charges against him relating to an oil drilling protest off the East Cape last year were dismissed today.
Judge Patrick Treston freed the 44-year-old skipper of the Te Whanau a Apanui owned boat due to the fact his arrest was made outside of New Zealand’s jurisdiction.
Elvis Teddy leaves the Tauranga District Court after his case was dismissed.
Elvis was the skipper of the fishing boat San Pietro taking part in a peaceful protest against Brazilian oil company Petrobras owned ship Orient Explorer’s sonar survey of the Raukumara Basin on April 23, 2011.
Elvis was arrested when police boarded the boat. He was charged with operating a vessel in an unsafe manner and resisting arrest.
He began a four day defended hearing in Tauranga District Court on Monday.
Speaking outside the court after his case was dismissed today, Elvis says his concern is now the 40-50 crayfish pots that he hasn’t been able to check, due to bail conditions restricting him from working, since last April.
The 20-30 whanau members, who have been supporting him through the court process, were going to visit the San Pietro which is in Tauranga.
The whanau owns three fishing boats, with Elvis usually skippering the crayfish boat.
When defence counsel Ron Mansfield submitted on Wednesday that there was no case to answer, prosecutor David Pawson sought an adjournment saying the move was a filibuster and he wanted to consult with Crown Law.
He was overruled by the judge who said in his ruling today that the jurisdiction issue was flagged at the very beginning.
He ruled that the New Zealand law, under which Elvis was arrested, does not apply outside the 12 nautical mile limit except in particular circumstances or in the case of serious matters specified in other acts.
As the law which the police used to arrest Elvis does not work outside the 12 mile limit, it means the arrest is a nullity.
“I can’t rule on a nullity, other than to take it out of the list. Elvis you are free to go. I think that is all I can actually do,” says the judge.
Crowds gather outside Tauranga District Court.