An anti-whaling activist from New Zealand who boarded a Japanese whaling ship as part of a protest in February pleaded guilty Thursday to charges including trespassing and destruction of property, but denied that he committed assault.
Sea Shepherd activist Peter Bethune admitted in a Tokyo court that he climbed aboard the Shonan Maru 2 in Antarctic seas and pleaded guilty to two other criminal counts — illegal possession of a knife and obstruction of business — but said he believed he had "good reason to do so." He denied a fifth charge of assault.
If convicted, Bethune could face up to 15 years in prison.
Bethune, 45, who jumped aboard the whaling vessel from a Jet Ski, has said he wanted to make a citizen's arrest of the Japanese captain and handed over a $3 million bill for the destruction of a high-tech protest ship that sank after a confrontation with Japanese whaling v
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