It’s illegal to break someone else’s car window.
But if there’s a baby in distress inside it on a hot day you’d probably get away with breaking the window to rescue him/her.
I can understand that.
I have much more difficulty understanding how you can get away with damaging property in New Zealand to protest about what’s happening in Iraq.
The acquittal of the three men who admitted the damage at Waihope won’t set a precedent because it was a jury’s decision not a judge’s.
But that is a legal nicety which will escape many zealots who think the end justifies the means and in the wake of the verdict animal rights activists mused publicly on the possibility of using that defence in future.
The Solicitor General David Collins says the Crown has no grounds for an appeal of the verdict but raised the possibility of suing for the cost of the damage caused.
There is a risk the suit could fail which would only reinforce the trio’s sense of righteousness.
But I think it’s a risk worth taking because if the action was successful it would show zealots that regardless of their motivation they can’t escape paying for the cost of their actions.