Arms fair trials abandoned

IssueApril - May 2018
News by David Polden

The crown prosecution service (CPS) broke off proceedings against 13 activists awaiting trial for obstructing the highway while protesting against the DSEI arms fair in London last September. Five protesters, from Faslane Peace Camp, are still scheduled to go on trial on 11–12 April.

The dropping of the cases followed the acquittals, on 7 February, of four Christian peace activists, and the dismissal of charges the next day against four Quaker abseilers, by a different district judge. All eight had been charged with highway obstruction during the set-up for the DSEI arms fair. (PN 2614–2615)

The CPS has not launched an appeal against these encouraging verdicts.

The Faslane Five were the only ones charged with ‘criminal trespass’, though their actions were no different from those charged with highway obstruction. Support for these defendants is being organised outside Stratford magistrates court from 9.30am on 11 April.

In total, of 102 people arrested for disrupting arms fair-bound traffic last year, only 10 have been found guilty of highway obstruction. They were given six months’ conditional discharges, and ordered to pay £180 in court costs and a £15 or £20 ‘victim surcharge’. They may appeal.

A few who originally pleaded guilty to the same charge were given a mixture of six months’ conditional discharges, £85 in costs and a £15 or £20 ‘victim surcharge’

Topics: Arms trade