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Blockaders' convictions overturned

Prosecution failed to establish road boundary rules judge

On 31 July, the high court in London overturned the convictions of five members of the Christian ‘Put Down the Sword’ affinity group who had blocked the entrance to Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Burghfield in June 2016.

Nina Carter-Brown, Nick Cooper, Angela Ditchfield, Joanna Frew and Alison Parker had been found guilty of wilful obstruction of the highway by Reading magistrates in January. Their action (using lock-on tubes) was part of a month of action organised by Trident Ploughshares. AWE Burghfield is the factory where nuclear warheads for the UK’s Trident nuclear submarines are assembled.

In the high court, the defendants argued they were on a private road and thus could not be found guilty of obstructing the public highway. They also argued that Trident is an illegal and immoral waste of money, a crime against humanity and God.

Lord justice Ian Burnett and sir Wyn Williams ruled that ‘the prosecution failed to establish by evidence before the district judge in the course of that single hearing where the boundary [of the public road] lay.’

The five were represented by Jo Buckley of Matrix Chambers and Adam Payter of 6KBW.

Topics: Nuclear Weapons