Lots of high-profile direct action cases have court dates coming up.
On 13 June, the high court in London will review the acquittal of eight anti-arms fair activists – Isa Al-Aali (Bahrain), Bram Vranken (Belgium), Luis Tinoco Torrejon (Peru), and Lisa Butler, Angela Ditchfield, Thomas Franklin, Susannah Mengesha (UK) – by Stratford magistrates court in April 2016.
The high court’s decision is likely to affect peace activists’ ability to use the legal defence of preventing a crime.
The eight (backed up by expert witnesses) persuaded a district judge that their disruptive actions had been legally justified because they had been seeking to prevent greater crimes being committed in September 2015 at the DSEI arms fair in east London – including the promotion for sale of torture weapons.
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The Stansted 15 anti-deportation activists have their next hearing at Chelmsford magistrates’ court on 21 June.
They locked themselves to an aircraft on a non-commercial runway at Stansted airport on 28 March, preventing the departure of a mass deportation charter flight.
One of the blockaders, Emma Hughes, of End Deportations, said: ‘This is an unprecedented victory in the fight against mass deportations, which are racist, violent and kill people’.
The other organisations involved were Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSMigrants) and Plane Stupid.
They prevented 50 people being deported that night. Only 23 of the 50 were deported two days later on the rescheduled flight. (See p19 for a blockader’s reflections.)
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Ploughshares activists Sam Walton and Daniel Woodhouse have a plea hearing at Blackpool magistrates court on 10 July.
On 29 January, they were stopped inside a BAE Systems factory as they were about to disarm fighter jets bound for Saudi Arabia.
The pair have both been charged with two counts of criminal damage costing under £5,000, to the perimeter fence and the hangar door. (See their statement in PN 2604 – 2605.)
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