Famed lawyer backs anti-cannery protest

Opponents of the massive tuna cannery project at Madang have been heartened by a response to their plea for help from celebrity and human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson.

An email from longtime Madang resident and environmentalist Nancy Sullivan was answered this week by Mr Robertson, who is known to many as the leading player in a series of TV debates called ‘Hypotheticals’.

He is also renowned for his involvement as a lawyer in celebrity rights cases.

He has replied, not to say he will get personally involved, but voicing his strong opinion on the issue.

The email is as follows:

Dear Nancy,
I have never seen a more ridiculous application [by the Department of Trade, Commerce and Industry against 11 Defendants who oppose the PMIZ] – there is no evidence that you “Maestros” are planning any disruption or disorder. You have a common law right to petition and more modern rights of freedom of speech and assembly.
Best of luck,
Geoffrey Robertson QC

In Madang, Ms Sullivan, former government minister Sir Angmai Bilas, current Sumkar MP Ken Fairweather and a cluster of landowners and concerned residents have  been taken to court by the Secretary of the Department of Trade Commerce and Industry, John Andreas, in an attempt to prevent them from doing anything to interfere with the cannery project including meeting or urging landowners and others to hinder the project.

The matter is due to be heard again in the National Court in Madang later this month.

Noel Pascoe