Lucy Lawless was sentenced to 120 hours of community service along with a $547 fine payable to a New Zealand port company after pleading guilty to trespassing. Lawless and seven other Greenpeace members were charged after protesting aboard an oil-drilling ship.
"I consider it a great victory that the court has struck down the reparation demand from Shell, which I think was absolutely ludicrous," Lawless told the Associated Press after the ruling.
Shell, one of the largest oil-drilling companies, had sought nearly $550,000 in reparations from the protestors. Defense attorneys stated that it was an excessive amount for a first-time offense and Judge Allan Roberts agreed. He did tell the company they could pursue damages in civilian court.
Lawless, best known for her role in "Xena: Warrior Princess" has since taken an activist role against oil drilling. She has worked with Greenpeace, an organization long known for its dedication to the environment, to raise awareness about the dangers of drilling in certain areas such as the Arctic.
In the latest protest, Lawless stayed on top of a drilling tower for four days in order to prevent its ship from moving. She blogged about her work and has not let up in her persistent critiques of the Shell Corporation.
"We are proud of to have taken part in our attempt to stop Shell's reckless plans to drill for oil in the pristine Arctic," Lawless told reporters outside the court. "Since we occupied the Noble Discoverer, it has become evident to everyone watching, from the millions who have signed Greenpeace petitions, to the US Government, now examining Shell's plans, that it can never be safe to drill in the Arctic."
"Let's embrace clean energy," Lawless suggested. "We're going to have to anyway, so why not do it before they cause a major oil spill in the Arctic and consign our grandchildren to an uncertain and dangerous world?"