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Lucy Lawless pleads guilty to illegal ship protest, faces jail time if convicted, report says

Lucy Lawless Reuters 660

Lucy Lawless (REUTERS)

"Xena: Warrior Princess" star Lucy Lawless and seven fellow Greenpeace protesters pleaded guilty Thursday to unlawfully being on a ship, following a three-day protest aboard a Shell oil exploration vessel in February.

Lawless joined Jan Raoni Hammer, Mike Ross Buchanan, Shayne Panayiotis Comino, Vivienne Rachel Hadlow, Shai Sebastian Naides, Zach Steven Penman and Ilai Amir in entering guilty pleas at the Auckland District Court, APNZ reported.

They were bailed to reappear in court for sentencing on Sept. 14. The activists' lawyer Ron Mansfield asked the court on Thursday to postpone entering a conviction against his clients, to make sure the prospect of a discharge without conviction is considered.

The activists originally boarded the Noble Discoverer on Feb. 24 while it was berthed at Taranaki, in New Zealand.

During the protest the group occupied the ship's 174-foot drilling derrick and unfurled banners to speak out against the vessel's voyage to look for oil in waters off Alaska -- arguing it is one of the world's last pristine environments.

After police boarded the ship and arrested the protesters, Greenpeace said more than 133,000 people had emailed Shell asking it to stay out of the Arctic and to protect the area's biodiversity.

Outside the court Thursday, Lawless, 44, said she believed the protest action "helped kick off a great movement" and that she was likely continue her association with Greenpeace.

"We want to tell [those responsible for deep sea oil drilling] absolutely under no circumstances is this a good idea. They are robbing our children of their birth right to a clean and healthy planet and they know it," Lawless said, according to APNZ.

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