AUGUSTA – A jury convicted a Hallowell man Friday on a criminal-trespass charge for remaining at the governor’s residence in November after police told protesters involved with Occupy Augusta to leave.

Greg Fahy, 44, a philosophy professor at the University of Maine at Augusta, was the seventh person to be tried on that charge in Kennebec County Superior Court, and the second to be found guilty.

“We certainly understand the defendant’s motivation and interest and desire to protest, but if you violate the criminal law, there needs to be a consequence,” said acting District Attorney Alan Kelley after the trial.

On Thursday, a mistrial was declared in a separate trial of five people who faced the same charges. The jury in that case deadlocked after many hours of deliberation and reports to the judge that some jurors were biased against the government.

The jury in Fahy’s case deliberated for about 20 minutes before returning the guilty verdict in the half-day trial. The judge fined Fahy $100 for the offense, noting that he had no prior criminal record.

Nine people who were arrested at the Blaine House on Nov. 27 were among dozens who protested an order to end the weeks-long Occupy Augusta encampment at Capitol Park.

Assistant District Attorney James Mitchell Jr. said Fahy defied police orders to leave the grounds of the Blaine House. Fahy, the only witness called by defense attorney Walter McKee, said he did not hear a police warning to leave before he was arrested.

Fahy testified that he had concerns about going on the property, but they were alleviated when he walked through the open front gate behind dozens of other marchers.

“There were no signs,” he testified. “I had no communication that I couldn’t be there. It was not private property; I knew that.”

Four police officers testified about seeing dozens of protesters milling around the lawn and shouting from the sidewalk. They said some people left after they were warned.

Four of the five defendants in Thursday’s a mistrial — Elizabeth Burke, 48, of Union; Patricia Messier, 63, of Wiscasset; Jenny Gray, 54, of Wiscasset; and David Page, 44, of Surry — returned to the courtroom Friday to support Fahy.

Also watching was Diane Messer, 59, of Liberty, who was found guilty March 23 of criminal trespass in the protest and fined $400.

Another defendant, James Freeman, 62, of Verona Island, has a June 5 court hearing scheduled.

On Friday morning, Mitchell said people can exercise their right to free speech and assembly on the streets and sidewalks and in Capitol Park, across State Street from the Capitol building and the governor’s mansion.

But, “Greg simply wasn’t told at all he had to leave,” McKee told jurors in his opening statement. “The first he heard about it was when he was under arrest.”

McKee said Fahy joined people from the Occupy Augusta encampment at Capitol Park to protest an order to end the nighttime camping and get a permit to use it during the day.

McKee said Fahy thought that was unfair and wanted to show his support for the group, which had been in the park since Oct. 15.

The first witness, Capitol police Officer Paul Lapierre, testified that he saw 30 to 40 people milling on the Blaine House grounds Nov. 27, and a woman on the balcony and some signs that had been hung.

He said there was drumming and the protesters were chanting, “Whose house? Our house.”

Mitchell told jurors that the property of the governor’s mansion is a not a public forum and not a site for protests, echoing the arguments made in the previous trials.

“When an officer says you have to leave, you have to leave,” Mitchell said.

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

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