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Lucy Lawless sentenced over oil protest

Published: 11:48AM Thursday February 07, 2013 Source: Fairfax

Actor Lucy Lawless, along with six other Greenpeace activists, has been sentenced today after pleading guilty to illegally boarding an oil drillship in Taranaki.

In the New Plymouth District Court today, Judge Allan Roberts sentenced the activists to 120 hours community work and ordered them to pay Port Taranaki $651.44 each.

But they have managed to avoid having to pay $600,000 in reparations to Shell Todd.

Judge Roberts said it was unfair to order further reparation to the company, which could take its claim to the civil courts.

Outside court, Lawless said she was "proud" of their protest action.

"Since we occupied the Noble Discoverer, it has become evident to everyone watching, from the millions who have signed Greenpeace petitions, to the US Government, now examining Shell's plans, that it can never be safe to drill in the Arctic," Lawless said.

"Shell's Arctic programme has cost them billions and it's now regarded as an eye-wateringly expensive failure."

The group was charged after illegally boarding the drill ship Noble Discoverer in February 2012, delaying its departure from Port Taranaki in New Plymouth.

The group breached port security, scaling the ship's drilling rig and remained camped there for more than 70 hours to protest against Shell's intention to drill for oil in Arctic waters.

Shell Todd Oil Services general manager Rob Jager said the company had supported the action taken by police and hoped to deter similar activity in the future.

"Shell Todd Oil Services recognises the right of individuals to express their point of view and protest in a manner that does not place the safety of people or property at risk. We continue to extend our offer of an open conversation where there is a real desire to find solutions," he said in a statement.

In June, the group pleaded guilty to charges of illegally boarding a ship.

They changed their plea after the initial charge of burglary was downgraded to the illegal boarding charge.

They were to be sentenced in September and this was postponed until November, and then again until today.