Assault charge dropped against DSEI activist

IssueDecember 2017 - January 2018
News by David Polden

On 10 November, a trial at Stratford magistrates court in London descended into farce when the prosecution declined to show police bodycam video evidence because it ‘showed nothing’ and dropped the case. This was the first trial arising from a week of action in September aimed at disrupting the DSEI arms fair held in London’s Docklands (PN 2610–2611).

Chris Maunder was facing the most serious charge brought against any of the 102 DSEI arrestees: assaulting a police officer. Chris had previously pleaded guilty to obstruction of the highway and possession of both cannabis and a 3cm blade to cut it with. Result: £485 in fines and costs. On 10 November, the judge acknowledged Chris’s right to protest and advised him not to take cannabis and kit ‘next time’ he protested!

Some of the DSEI 102 pleaded guilty and were given a year’s conditional discharge with £20 court costs. Over 20 others who pleaded not guilty had their cases dropped for ‘lack of evidence’. Ben Hewitt, charged with public order offences, will be tried at Stratford on 7 December. The rest are to be tried from 10 January.

Topics: Arms trade