A Queensland peace activist has died while awaiting trial for attacking a military helicopter in central Queensland.

Bryan Law was charged over allegedly using a garden tool to attack the Australian Army helicopter at Rockhampton Airport in 2011, as part of a protest against Exercise Talisman Sabre.

Graeme Dunstan, who was also charged over the helicopter attack, says Mr Law was committed to peace.

"[He] risked jail and his health [during] that action on the Rockhampton airport," Mr Dunstan said.

"His diabetes was acute and as a direct result of the exertions of that, he had a toe amputated directly after the action, so this is a serious commitment."

He says he will now have to face trial alone, but will continue to fight the charges.

"When I first heard the news from his widow, she said 'you're going to have to be in court alone' and I thought 'oh no, I can't do this - better to plead guilty and let it close the whole thing down'," he said.

"But then I reflected that I wouldn't be alone - Bryan's big spirit would be beside me in the court room and also all the other peace activists."

Mr Law's widow Margaret Pestorius says he saw the District Court trial as an opportunity.

"A trial - it's a lot of work - but of course for Bryan, he was a great strategist and any opportunities that he had for people to be transformed he would take that opportunity," he said.

"For him the court place was another place to reveal the truth.

"He was looking forward to being able to speak and put his case to a jury of ordinary people."

Ms Pestorius says he also pursued issues in his hometown of Cairns in the state's far north.

"Bryan had worked for peace for a long time since he was in his 30s and also on environmental issues," she said.

"He'd worked on Fraser Island and the Daintree Road, Skyrail issue, up here in Cairns."

 

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