On 25 July, a group of nine anti-arms trade protesters were acquitted after a four-day trial at Stratford magistrates court in East London.
The court found that Meredith Dickinson, Yvette Hannon, Lizzy Haughton, Francis Henderson, Joshua Instone, William James, Emily Robinson, James Uzzell and Luke Whiting did obstruct the highway by blocking an access road to the DSEI arms fair last September.
However, the DSEI Nine were acquitted because the court ruled that the protest had caused ‘very limited disruption’ – a missile system and an armoured vehicle being delivered to the ExCeL Centre were delayed for two hours at most.
The activists were exercising their rights to free speech and free assembly under articles 10 and 11 of the European convention on human rights, and conviction in these circumstances would have been a disproportionate interference in these human rights, the court found, following the supreme court ruling in Ziegler (see PN 2660 for the full Ziegler story).
The DSEI Nine said: ‘corporations and governments should be on trial, not peaceful protesters.’
The DSEI Nine’s solicitors were Raj Chada and Aneka Thirurajah, of Hodge Jones & Allen.