Police trespass notices 'heavy handed'

Sam Murphy. Photo: ODT
Sam Murphy. Photo: ODT
Sam Murphy was surprised when Senior Constable Ruth Parsons served him trespass notices courtesy of fertiliser company Ravensdown and Port Otago yesterday. 

The notice warned him not to enter Ravensdown’s wharf structure in the harbour, or stray on to the neighbouring rugby field at Moller Park.

The Dunedin man (26), a member of environmental activist group Environmental Justice Otepoti, said he had never been on to the Ravensdown Dunedin works or its wharf.

Mr Murphy is part of a group that is planning to meet the phosphate carrier Federal Crimson with a ‘‘peace flotilla’’ on its arrival in Dunedin on Wednesday.

The ship is delivering phosphate sourced from Western Sahara, which protesters believe is against international law.

A spokesperson for the environmental group, Rachael Laurie, described the action as ‘‘heavy handed’’.

‘‘Given that this is a fundamental right we question why the police feel moved to engage in intimidation of this nature,’’ she said.

Both Ravensdown and Port Otago said the trespass notice was at the instigation of local police but that the police were certainly ‘‘within their rights’’ to issue the notice.

Police were unable to provide information, however, saying that the ‘‘officer in question was away.’’

Rail and maritime transport union organiser John Kerr confirmed that members of the Port Otago unions would also be meeting on Monday to discuss what action they would take on arrival of the vessel.