Now that a citizen’s arrest has gone awry, let’s see how well Peter Bethune can do humble

As a long-committed anti-wailer, Alf would like to harpoon the bloody Greens who are spouting about the Government failing to support Peter Bethune.

Why we should support this Bethune bloke is beyond Alf’s ken. He is a New Zealand citizen, true, and he has gone on trial in foreign parts.

But he should go on trial, surely – or maybe be banged up in an institution for the bewildered and the barmy.

Let’s face it: he was daft enough to clamber aboard the Shonan Maru II, the security ship of the Japanese whaling fleet, during the annual cull of the sea mammals somewhere down near the Antarctic.

His bizarre objective was to make a citizen’s arrest.

The foolish venture is recalled by Stuff in its report on the court case:

Mr Bethune was working for the US-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, on its the Ady Gil trimaran – formerly the record-setting Earthrace – when it and the Japanese whaling fleet’s security ship the Shonan Maru II collided in January.

Three of the charges he stood trial for stem from his doomed bid to later make a “citizen’s arrest” of the Japanese captain, for what he said was the attempted murder of the Ady Gil’s six crew.

What happened after he clambered aboard the Japanese ship was as inevitable as the fate of General Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

He was considerably outnumbered by the Japanese on the security boat and they tossed him in the brig.

They took him home to Tokyo, handed him over to Japanese authorities, and now we learn:

Bethune has pleaded guilty to four charges at the opening of his trial in Tokyo today – but has denied the most serious charge, of assault.

The father of two teenage daughters, Danielle, 15, and Alycia, 13, pleaded guilty to trespass, possession of a weapon, damage to property and obstructing commercial activity.

The charge he is denying – of assault – was based on allegations that he was responsible for bottles of rancid butter – a stenching agent known as butyric acid – being thrown at Japanese sailors earlier in the protest.

So there we have it.

He is not only a plonker, but also a trespasser who possessed a weapon, damaged Japanese property and obstructed Japanese commercial activity.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei is banging on about Maritime New Zealand conducting an investigation of the collision of the Ady Gill and Shonan Maru.

It is waiting for GPS data from the Japanese.

She says:

The New Zealand Government should be supporting the Maritime NZ investigation but did “not appear to be doing anything” to get the information.

It was possible the Japanese ship was responsible for ramming the Ady Gill which would make Mr Bethune’s actions legal, Mrs Turei said.

“If the Maritime New Zealand investigation shows the Japanese vessel was at fault then this has been a serious mistrial and the New Zealand Government has been implicit (sic) in that mistrial.

“I’m very concerned that someone who was protecting the New Zealand interest, because the Government was refusing to, is going to be sacrificed to Japanese political interest in whaling, he should not be going to jail, he should not be on trial.”

Alf is puzzled by the idea Bethune was protecting the New Zealand interest.

How was he doing this, precisely?

Alf is happy with the PM’s explanation that the Government is requesting advice from the Japanese and trying, through Maritime NZ, to get the best information.

“I honestly haven’t had a look through the depositions and what case they are making but in the end we are trying to give Peter Bethune whatever support we can, not withstanding he is being tried under the Japanese jurisdiction and we can’t prevent that but if we are in a position to help him and give him any information we certainly would not withhold that.”

Can’t say fairer than that, eh?

Meanwhile, Alf observes with some bemusement that Bethune and his family are pinning their hopes on him showing contrition and getting a suspended sentence.

His wife, Sharyn, said he had written a “humble” speech in Japanese to help his case.

“Pete’s got to be humble, he’s got to be apologetic, Pete will find that hard if he believes that he’s in the right,” she said earlier.

Dunno if he does humble all that well in any language, let alone Japanese.

No, that’s not Alf’s opinion. It’s Bethune’s:

“Humble is not so easy though when you’ve had your boat sunk and been locked up for months.

So what’s the betting on his doing a bit of jail time?

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