The Daily Fail (or is it Heil?) slanders prisoners

We have read some absolute crap over the years but Andrew Malone’s “investigation” into “A terrorist called Mumsy” has to win some sort of prize!
Andrew regurgitating a NETCU press release is not an investigation dearie and for those who read this give Andrew and DCI Andy Robbins any credibility consider the following facts;
Sarah has been in prison for years now but according to Andrew she has only been in for a week!
How exactly can a prisoner be forced to wear leather shoes? First Andrew says Sarah is forced to wear leather, then he says she is living a vegan life of Riley. Did you make this up in the pub Andrew or what?
Sarah had nothing to do with digging up Gladys Hammond.
If SHAC were a “ruthless IRA-style gang” where are all the bodies and limping people who have been knee-capped, those who have been tarred and feathered? (we at NW fully acknowledge that atrocities were committed by the UVF and British soldiers and police as well during the Troubles). Stop exaggerating Andrew, we know it makes a better headline but really show some respect to those who have suffered both in Ireland and on the UK mainland especially as we approach Rememberance Sunday.
What extensive training at “safe houses” on how to avoid police surveillance?
And it goes on and on and on 2 entire pages worth.
Solidarity with Sarah and the other activists who have been painted as her mere stooges.

The Inkerman Group

jamesbond.jpg This bunch protect people like the Dalai Lama, they advise businessmen going to dangerous places and they are keeping an eye on us all. Indeed we suspect that they do lots of sinister things using ex police officers to make a mint on telling multinationals all about all kinds of activists. Maybe to raise funds we’ll tell them lots of interesting things about ourselves and share the proceeds or if we find enough pennies we’ll get them working for us! We presume that activists across the board know about them any info would be appreciated cos we really think it would be terribly rude not to show an interest. Furthermore under the Data Protection Act they are obliged to tell individual activists about what information they hold on that individual or else the Information Commissioner gets very cross indeed and might even prosecute a company for breaking the law one day. Data protection requests should be sent to the address below but really only well known activists should do this to avoid giving them information they do not already have and this is an action not to be taken lightly (unfortunately you do have to give them £10 for their costs). Obviously they have poor Brian Haw in their sights intimating that he is a terrorist is utterly disgusting. Read the attached article and please spread the word on this company.

http://www.inkerman.com

The Data Protection Officer,
The Inkerman Group,
Inkerman House,
3-4 Elwick Road,
Ashford,
Kent,
TN231PF
01233 646940

Oh and if you are reading this Colin, Gerald, James, John, Tim, Fay, Richard, Elizabeth and David because we know how much we fascinate you, a great big hello to you all, the fascination is mutual. Oh and happy 49th to Fay on the 7th March if you’ve got a party can we come too, just make sure you’ve got some nice vegan food, we’ll be very well behaved and we won’t bring those naughty clowns!

DISPATCHES FROM SEQUANI ANIMAL TORTURE CENTRE, SOCPA AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR DEMOCRACY.

DISPATCHES FROM SEQUANI ANIMAL TORTURE CENTRE, SOCPA AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR DEMOCRACY.

Sequani is a contract testing laboratory based in Ledbury in Herefordshire. They test anything for anyone for a price which includes poisoning rats, mice, dogs and numerous other animals with various products from drugs to anti dandruff shampoo to toothpaste.

Recently the women of Ledbury have been invited to partake in human trials for a tampon which contains painkillers which we presume was first tested on animals hardly life saving medical research, more like the medicalisation of normal female physiology. The menopause has long been regarded as pathological the implication being that women cannot live without medical help, utter nonsense except in a minority of cases. Notwithstanding that it is hardly healthy to take painkillers for every little ache and pain there is many issues at stake here. A woman who has very painful periods maybe should be checked over by her GP to make sure that all is well instead of rushing off to spend hard earned cash on something which may treat the symptoms but not the cause and might actually poison her into the bargain. For those who have mild period pain there is always paracetomol and a hot water bottle. Child a bit lively? dose it up on Ritalin. Feeling a bit sad? dose up with Prozac the Americans are taking it in their millions so it must be good. Of course Ritalin and Prozac may be useful drugs for some individuals but certainly not on the scale we are seeing.The drug companies are making billions out of the mass medication of people who certainly do not “need” it and in fact might be harmed by it. Oops a daisy those who took HRT to cope with minor menopausal symptoms now have breast cancer, some of those who took Zyban rather than using will power to stop smoking are ermm dead, ditto some individuals who took Baycol to lower cholesterol,etc, etc,etc. We only mention all this because we are so often depicted as arch deviants who want to stop all medical research, dig up grannies, and cause the collapse of humanity into the abyss and so pot? kettle? black?.

Well we support proper medical research because some of us work in the NHS, some of us are or may become ill, ie not for petty imagined “illnesses” and not on other species (how is a month old rat in any way comparable with a 60 year old man?))For the record no animal rights person has been charged or convicted for digging up Gladys Hammond and we only mention her because whenever we complain about the way in which we are being treated someone always brings up this incident, we have no idea whether or not animal rights people were involved and certainly were not involved ourselves. By the way BAA intend to dig up not one body (which is grossly indecent) but 3 ENTIRE GRAVEYARDS disentering the corpses some of whom were killed by aviation pollution!!!

We believe that there are many important issues surrounding testing on animals and for 25 years local people have gone to the gates to demonstrate disgust at vivisection and highlight these issues. Certainly over the last 10 years this has been a small local affair and not much other than placard holding and chanting has occurred much as it would at any other demonstration. There have been a couple of minor public order arrests and some Sequani staff have on occasion been very threatening even throwing protestors into oncoming traffic but nothing terribly exciting, no corpses, no home demos, no bombs, no hate mail, no liberations, no criminal damage. So why is it that 12 protestors are now facing 5 years in prison for protesting peacefully against Sequani and why should even a fox-hunting, fur hag, foie gras eating vivisector be concerned? We aim to open some debate on this, alert the wider public and save democracy and we will begin by describing the events of 2006.

We cannot say anything about the trial because of draconian reporting restrictions. The hysterical exaggerations and fantasies of some of the staff and some police officers as well as the disgraceful manipulation behind the scenes will have to remain a mystery for now suffice to say that the state have spent millions of pounds of public money persecuting a small group of people for protesting, peacefully against vivisection. If only the victims of muggings and burglaries and organised gangs (who now rule some areas) were as well connected as Sequani….

LEDBURY 2006

Until now security, police and protestors all managed perfectly well. Every protestor knew that if they ran in through the gates and did “naughty” things that the police would arrest them, security guards knew that if they decided to throw protestors into oncoming traffic that it was best to do it when the police were dealing with actual crime. The police ignored protestors complaints about security staff but hey ho they were not too draconian and did not arrest people for simply holding banners and speaking out against vivisection and no one died as a result of being hurled in front of lorries. 2006 saw a massive change and we think that the police promised Sequani that they would eradicate us. Staffordshire police turned up for a couple of demos no doubt getting withdrawal symptoms from activists after Newchurch guinea pig farm closed (deep down they really must love us) and “advised” West Mercia on how best to deal with us. This started with an errr interesting interpretation of section 42. Protestors would arrive and hold banners, a police officer would arrive and look terribly important because s/he had been given a clip board and thus dear reader reached the very zenith of his/her carreer. S/he would then announce that because there were “dwellings” nearby that the demonstration could upset someone and everyone would be ordered to move under pain of arrest and not return for 7 days when the whole charade was then repeated. Using the legislation this way meant that ANY demonstration in the vicinity (vicinity is not defined it could mean 2 miles away), of any dwelling (dwelling is not defined it could mean a tent halfway up Scafell or a yacht in the English channel) would be unlawful. Fortunately the police soon learnt a year later to their considerable cost (£25,000 in all we believe) that this was in fact not the case after those unlawfully arrested sued for compensation for abduction, malicious prosecution and assault. Credit where it is due West Mercia Professional Standards (police officers who police the police) investigated on behalf of the complainants and found that there was this briefing document lurking about which was given to the police on the ground who believed that they were making legal arrests under both section 42 and under antisocial behaviour legislation when in fact they were not. West Mercia apologised and compensated very gracefully, clearly orders had come from on high and police on the ground were not to blame or were they? At that time it was impossible to tell what would happen at demonstrations because one day arrests could happen and the next a police sergeant could be congratulating everyone on their good humour and peaceful demeanor and all was well.

At present we are glad to report that the police are behaving themselves and have curbed their anti social behaviour but we suspect that this might change soon. Only 2 gripes apparently Sequani are allowed to film us as much as they want as they are utterly trustworthy, responsible and would not dream of tampering with the footage. We have been threatened with arrest if we have a video camera even if it switched off, even if security guards are hurling people in front of lorries in case they feel intimidated and so if any protest does go to court the only recorded evidence will be from Sequani as our footage will have been destroyed and equipment confiscated. How odd that footage filmed by Sequani played in court has had the sound of protestors shouting enhanced so that they can be heard over lorries rushing past? Must be a technical problem.The second gripe is that we are well behaved we really do not need a police officer each and we are sure that they would rather be elsewhere doing real police work (well most of them anyway except those who keep nicking the donuts from the Sequani security building, and the occasional officious nutter)

PUNISHING PEOPLE FOR THEIR BELIEFS

May 2006 saw the first raids to our knowledge (certainly in the last 10 years) of Seqauni protestors homes. These were dawn raids and houses were cleared out of every cd, computer, printer, leaflet, banner, everything really that was not nailed down. Initially 14 people were arrested 12 were later charged under SOCPA and are at the moment in the midst of a trial so we can say little else suffice to say that if you wish to hold up a banner (and that is all and we do mean a nice polite banner and no we do not mean a roof top demo, or one that might be on the evil one’s land) outside for example Tescos, or BAA then one day you might be in the same court room facing 5 years inside. Lucky really that SOCPA just refers to vivisection but seriously how long will it be before those who are against nuclear power, or are pro hunt, or are against phonemasts or indeed disagree with government policy in any way face the same sanctions? You could argue that we are nasty, violent graverobbers, but we are actually quite a nice bunch and whilst we are by no means perfect we do not kill people like the Fascists and believe you me you’d rather meet us on a dark night in the woods rather than some hunt supporters or badger diggers. Neither fascists or the Real Countryside Alliance face this law in all its full glory but they will one day as will all protestors. The police and their chums in the CPS are very keen to squander 4 million pounds thus far of public money on this case no doubt at the expense of ordinary folk who face an epidemic of real crime and no assistance from the law. In the West Mercia area burglaries, serious harassment and environmental desecration such as flytipping are utterly neglected at the expense of doffing the collective police cap to the vivisection industry. This does not benefit even a Sequani worker. Just imagine you work for Sequani, the police pester you for a statement to say that you felt harassed by an octogenarian holding a banner that you couldn’t quite see a year ago, you go home and find that your partner, a carpenter, has had his lock-up burgled yet again with thousands of pounds worth of tools gone. He can no longer work as he has no tools and cannot buy more tools as he can no longer work, you lose your house, the police are not interested but they still really want to know about the trauma you suffered because you might have seen this old banner. The police are being used as political pawns and some of them seem to really enjoy this role.

The message they want to send out is that if you protest however peacefully against animal experiments they will ruin your life.

First of all a dawn raid. Now apart from having the inconvenience of your door being smashed in, you being assaulted, your pets and/or children being terrorised, every little thing you own(including letters, cards, school reports, photos, bank statements) being scrutinised by some creepy Herr Flick wannabe and being dragged off in handcuffs to the police station, being raided is not too bad. It is almost an annual event for some of us, a bit like Kim and Aggie coming in and decluttering your house minus channel 4 and the glamorous sequined gloves but plus another even creepier Herr Flick wannabe(who looks like Voldemort with a hangover) filming your every move and plain old latex gloves (don’t ask you’ll find out soon enough). However if you live with your parents or a partner who are not fully understanding even if the case is dropped entirely you could still be in trouble with your nearest and dearest, a landlord/lady might throw you out especially if you are a lodger and of course others in the movement who can not risk getting raided feel forced to abstain from ANY actions unable to risk upsetting an elderly relative or their children.

Secondly Work. Those who are retired, on benefits, the self employed, or who are really valued by an organisation who do not wish to lose valuable skills should be OK. Anyone else could be in trouble. Imagine explaining to an employer that not only have you been arrested but that you need a day off for court the following week. You go to court and another date is set, then another, you have to then take days off to discuss strategy with your legal team, you use up all your holiday and then a trial is set to last 13 weeks. Your name might be all over the press. Many employers would be none too chuffed and even the most sympathetic might think of getting rid of the activist if not there and then maybe at a later date when the police repeat the process or another event for example a car crash or having to care for an elderly relative causes more friction. The point is of course to punish those who criticise vivisection. West Mercia police also made a point of arresting people at work and searching people’s places of work in a vindictive attempt to make people lose their jobs. Again some other activists would have had to stop legal, peaceful protest unable to risk losing their livelihoods. Even if the case is dropped people’s jobs are still in jeopardy especially if the police do the same thing repeatedly which they have been known to do.

Thirdly money. A 13 week trial traveling to and fro and supporting self and family with no wages is somewhat difficult which is why the trial is taking place in Birmingham rather than Worcester or Hereford.For those on benefits it is almost impossible if the defendant wants to eat as well. Clearly another attempt to intimidate and send out a wider message that what has been regarded as legal protest in the past is now only the preserve of the very wealthy who can afford such disruption.

Needless to say all of these factors make a guilty plea appear to be the much easier option!In spite of the intimidation only one defendant has pleaded guilty so far.

The reason we mention all this is not to cause panic or to spread paranoia, but to make it very clear that the right to protest in a traditional way is under an onslaught which has severe ramifications for us all. We utterly oppose any attack on democracy and whilst we are the enemies of hunters we are opposed to them being arrested for wearing “bollocks to Blair” Tshirts, obviously we are opposed to the attacks on Brian Haw and Mia Evans and numerous other activists but this is not a matter of an arrest at the scene of the offence, a day in the magistrates court, a fine and a criminal record. These things are bad enough when one has only protested in an orderly manner but it is quite possible to continue pick up the pieces and continue with life, we know as we have done this repeatedly. What is happening right now starting with animal rights activists is the total dismantling of people’s lives and many seem to think that this is appropriate but think again do you really deep down feel that an animal rights activist who has gone into an office, let off an air horn, handed out a few leaflets and walked out again is worse than a child rapist? Recent sentencing of activists have included 4 years for a few office occupations, 6 years for putting paintstripper on cars, 12 years for running a campaign and an indefinite sentence for property damage. Many who rape and kill will be freed long before animal rights activists, clearly human beings rate far less than a company’s profit margin! We have read and heard of many views that support the crackdown on us but if you really think that the powers that be will stop once we have been rounded up, demonised and interned then you are seriously deluded. You may not like what we have to say but in a democracy if someone wants to protest outside Barclays that space pixies from Venus have stolen their pencil case it is the right for that person to protest that is important not the fact that you do not like what they are saying. The bottom line is that if you want to live in a democracy we come as part of the package, if you do not like the pictures of tortured animals walk past and bear in mind we find your McDonalds corpse burger and your fur coat far more offensive and we happen to think that skinning animals alive is extreme ditto factory farming. Even some leading Pro-test members have expressed disquiet over draconian legislation which could potentially limit all anti vivisection protest to a carefully worded occasional letter to the press or an MP. Imagine if the unions and the Suffragettes had been thus limited and then think what sort of regime we will all have to endure a few years from now. The outcome of the Sequani trial will partially set the precedent for whether or not we continue to enjoy liberty or face a tyranny unheard of for centuries.

We will continue to protest until we are locked up or indeed maimed (at least one of us has suffered life threatening injuries from the police requiring a 2 week hospital stay)as we have a duty to speak out for the animals and to those brave souls who handed us the legacy of a free (ish) country after suffering torture and death for their beliefs. We do not fear the police or the courts and if they persecute us we will challenge them for as long as we possibly can. For those who think that this does not apply to them do not expect too much sympathy when the door is smashed in and it is you who are hauled off for handing out leaflets against a phone mast, or holding a banner at a farmers blockade at Tescos. You have all been warned please take note. If you disagree with SOCPA then come to Ledbury, or any anti SOCPA demo, write to your MP and say so even if you also disagree with us.

How to be a seriously organised animal rights criminal – Section 145 SOCPA.

The Liberty VacuumOur hypothetical campaign situation resulting in a civil liberties cluster-fuck happy reading…

Vivisector: I am a vivisector at ToxiKill Ltd.

Protester: I am a campaigner that thinks that ToxiKill Ltd does pointless and dangerous experiments on animals which cost human lives as well as animals I am going to protest outside the lab.

Police Evidence Team: Note new campaign started against ToxiKill Ltd – three campaigners ID currently unknown.

Vivisector (to police): Someone is outside our business holding a placard with a picture of a dog that has been killed in animal experiments, even though this is something I routinely see at work, I don’t like being reminded of my unethical job and I feel slightly uneasy.

Police (to Protesters): Someone has told us you have been “anti social” by displaying a banner which depicts animals which have died as a result of vivisection. Using Section 50 of the Police Reform Act 2002 I am asking you for your names addresses and date of birth (although I don’t have any power to ask for DOB I will tell you that you could be arrested if you don’t give it).

Police Evidence Team: Campaigners identified.

Campaign continues for four months with police presence at every demonstration including evidence gatherers.

Protester (to other protesters): Here’s an idea, why don’t we protest against the companies supply ToxiKill Ltd with lab cages?

Other Protester: That’s an excellent idea, why don’t we do some demos against the people who supply them with animals as well?

Police Evidence Team: Campaign tactics have changed suppliers of ToxiKill now being campaigned against tactics peaceful although suppliers say they feel distressed by the protests and they feel that the profits are down since the campaigning started.

Protester (via Megaphone to Arrowlight Biosciences limited): We are here to stay, Arrowlight until you drop ToxiKill we will be here every day!

Police Evidence Team: Blackmail noted.

Protesters then trespass onto Arrowlight property which is a civil offence not a criminal matter unless they are asked to leave then if they refuse it is a criminal matter of aggravated trespass.

Bob (Arrowlight) 999 call: It is Bob here from Arrowlight, protesters are outside our doors which a banner and shouting we feel scared even though there are three of them and they seem calm and two hundred staff members!

Police (arrive at Arrowlight): Under section 14 of the Public Order act I am moving your protest over the road which is roughly 200 metres from the entrance of Arrowlight outside some other place. Making your protest ineffective.

The demonstrations continue for 4 months some protesters are recorded swearing at a van delivering beagle puppies to ToxiKill, police don’t take action but document the swearing.

Meanwhile, Operation LibertyHoover is started.

Police take statements from staff and ask if people would be willing to testify in court if needed. Many staff members agree as they are told it could stop the protests all together. They don’t really care for the right to protest they just want the protests to stop.

Police called to Arrowlight after protests knock on the windows and shout “puppy killers” and “how do you sleep at night animal abusers”. Even though this is a possible section 5 public order offence the police are told not take any action to stop the protest.

One month passes…

The three protesters are raided, their companion animals are let onto the streets and one activist is pushed down the stairs whilst handcuffed behind his back. All computer equipment, campaign materials, clothing, cars and phones are taken the houses are stripped bare.

They are held for twenty hours and questioned by CID and various other officers they are shown emails which they have sent calling for others to protest and told about phone records that show a clear leader in the eyes of the police.

Questions like “who updates the website” and “who is the leader” are asked. “Someone must be organising these demonstrations! Who is the leader?” The police focus on one protester who has been something of a liaison with the press and also seems to (according to phone records) phone other members of the campaign more than others have phoned him.

Police continue to look for a hierarchy even though it is just a couple of individuals who care about animals and have a common goal of stopping vivisection. There is no leader, people are told about times and dates of demonstrations if they wish to attend they are welcome to. The police make the person who turns up on all the demos and makes more phone calls the leader.

They are all charged with Section 145 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act for “Conspiracy to interfere with contractual relationships so as to harm animal research organisation”.

The bail conditions disallow them to attend any animal rights events, speak with other activists and they are given a curfew where they are to be at home between 1900 and 0700. One activist suffers from depression waiting for the trial to start after being disallowed to speak with their friends they find the bail conditions unbearable.

The trial starts a year later, all three plead not guilty, the jury are told about certain security precautions as the trial might make them a target for animal rights extremists. The jury fear for their safety and they start the trial with the mindset that the defendants are dangerous individuals. Extra security is added in the court room to heighten this fear and people giving evidence give it behind a screen as not to be seen by anyone else in the court room.

Witness (ToxiKill worker): I felt intimidated by the protesters I didn’t like the way they said I killed puppies. I found it hard to work at times thinking about having to drive past them again.

Police evidence is shown and a person who isn’t even a defendant swearing at a white van is aired for the first time. Also video footage of protesters knocking on windows is shown, this footage also doesn’t include any of the defendants knocking on the window.

The trial is dragged out for four months, two of the three are found guilty and one is given a 14 month suspended sentence. Although the jury don’t know this, they assume that people wouldn’t face years in prison for so little.

The others are sentenced to four years.

Four years in prison, for:

  • One person who wasn’t even a defendant swearing on a demonstration (harassment)
  • Other people who weren’t defendants knocking on a window. (harassment)
  • Statements from workers saying they found it difficult to work with the protesters outside. (harassment)
  • Statements from witnesses who said they were intimidated although the protesters were outside a high security laboratory site with five security on the gate. (harassment)
  • Telling your friends that there is a demonstration on Tuesday (conspiracy)
  • Telling a supplier you would continue to protest until they stopped doing what they were legally allowed to do (blackmail).

Previous to SOCPA these offences were a section 5 of the public order act and were about as serious as swearing in the street at anyone.

SOCPA takes tiny offences such as Section 5 and then for use against animal rights protesters makes them into huge crimes for which activists can face years in prison.

People can ignore the facts and keep saying it’s only because they are animal rights that they get raided all the time, and you can live in denial that it will never happen to your movement. These laws make a mockery of the freedom to protest and should be recognised for how much they destroy our civil liberties regardless of the movement.

First they came for the animal rights protesters.
I was not an animal rights protester:

Then they came for <insert your movement here>

Then there was no-one left to speak out for me.

Disclaimer: The names of companies, individuals are fictitious and are not intended to resemble any real person or business.

Sequani 6: Judge, Hunter and Executioners? – Trial update

When asked, most people would agree that all people who have been charged with an offence have the right to a fair trial? I wonder if a trial might still be considered fair if for example the victim of a robbery or rape was the judge in the case?

Impartiality has to be the foundation of a fair trial, so why am I recoiling in horror to find out that the judge in the latest SOCPA trial is a hunter? Yes I’m serious, the judge for six people facing possible prison sentences for conspiracy to “interfere with contractual relationships so as to harm animal research organisation” spends his spare time when he is not a judge shooting animals out of the sky for fun.

Not to mention of course the fact that the jury are being privately bused in each day so that the scary extremists don’t “disappear them” in a Mafia Movie style which is a first for animal rights activists. The whole facade obviously serves the fair trial well in creating a false sense of insecurity for the jury so they actually feel like these people are a threat to everything good and pure anywhere…

To add insult to the fair trial, an announcement by the procecution on the first day of the trial told of an activist being arrested in Herefordshire “at this moment” even though the arrest was nothing to do with Sequani or even vivisection and how protests were happening even whilst they were in court.

We wish the Sequani 6 all the best in there trial and hope that SOCPA laws are recognised for the farce that it is and someone wakes up to the systematic removal of our civil liberties and realises the implications for the protest movement as a whole.

Protests continue at Sequani with a campaign being stepped up by other activists from around the country, protests take place on the first Monday of every month and any time people wish to protest there.

You can support the Sequani 6 by protesting at Sequani. More information here.

Child Abuser Walks Free While Those That Protest Against Animal Abuse Are Thrown Into Jail

This pervert (left) who sexually interfered with an eighteen-month-old baby among other victims got his wrists slapped in court today then sent home.

Meanwhile any protestor who now dares to ‘interfere’ with the multi-billion pound animal testing industry in this country potentially faces endless years in prison on the Charge of “Interference with contractual relationships so as to harm an animal research organisation”.

Three people have already been sent to prison for allegedly comitting the heinous crime of ‘interfering with an animal research organisation’.

The sick pervert in the story below is probably drinking tea at home and wiping his brow thanking British justice for the farce that it is.

You work it out.

Man escapes jail for sex attacks
BBC News Thursday August 23rd 2007

A Jehovah’s Witness has escaped a jail term after admitting a series of sexual assaults on children and adults in Clevedon.

Michael Porter, of Okehampton Close, north London, admitted 24 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency on 13 victims aged 18 months and older.

Among the individuals were others involved in the faith.

Judge Tom Crowther at Bristol Crown Court sentenced Porter to three years of community rehabilitation.

The judge opted not to jail Porter after hearing he had undergone therapy and was a changed man.

He was banned from working with anyone under the age of 18 and put on the Sex Offenders Register.

But Porter’s sister, Tina Hughes, said: “I am absolutely disgusted. He should not have walked free.

“He has lost nothing. We have to tell the victims we have got no closure. He is an evil person. He is not human.”

Det Con Lisa Finch, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: “Many of the families involved have been completely traumatised. It has turned their lives upside down.”

Avon and Somerset Police are thought to be considering appealing against the sentence.

Norman Brennan, founder of the Victims of Crime Trust, said: “If we’re to reassure parents and send out a strong deterrent message to paedophiles, then those convicted should face prison sentences that both punish and deter others.”

The court was told that Porter, 38, carried out the assaults between 1986 and 2000.

Babysitting youngsters

He was a respected member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Portishead and Clevedon.

Parents trusted him to look after their children, and he regularly babysat for youngsters, took them away on holidays and invited them for sleepovers at his home.

He finally admitted what he had done after one of his victims threatened to go the police.

Porter declined to comment as he left court with his wife.

Documents expose Police corruption in Oxford

Original article posted on Arkangel 14th May 2007

Documents that have been disclosed at the trial of the SPEAK 16 have highlighted a sinister relationship that exists between law enforcement officers in Oxford and Oxford University.

On Monday 30th April proceedings against sixteen SPEAK supporters who were arrested for public order offences arising from a peaceful demonstration at the Oxford University Encaenia ceremony on the 21st June 2006 finally got underway at Oxford Magistrates court almost one year after the alleged “offences” had occurred.

Due to legal arguments the trial was halted for a few days but now continues at Bicester Magistrates. Bicester is a small market town about 12 miles north of Oxford.

The damning documents came to light less than two weeks before the trial of the SPEAK 16. The sixteen defendants were served via their respective legal representatives with a transcript of a dictaphone tape recording which a serving Thames Valley Police (TVP) officer had recorded on the day of the Encaenia Ceremony. What makes this tape remarkable was the content of the conversations which took place between TVP officers, including senior ranking officers, after the arrests of the defendants had taken place.

Due to the ongoing legal case Arkangel cannot fully report the contents of the documents containing the transcript of recorded conversations between Thames Valley Police officers but once the trial is over Arkangel will be able to disclose the damning conversations that took place between police officers – a conversation that exposes corruption at the very highest levels of Thames Valley Police.

From the transcripts of the conversation that were discussed in Court, it is clear that the officers heard on the tape had no idea the dictaphone was still active when they regrouped after the legal demonstration had been put down. This also included comments at a de-briefing held in the presence of the commanding officer responsible for the policing of the demonstration on the day and officers involved in ‘Operation Rumble’, the code name given for the policing of all demonstrations related to the ‘Oxford Animal Lab’ campaign run by SPEAK. The transcript of the tape has revealed the true extent of the relationship between senior Thames Valley Police officers and Oxford University. It has also revealed a very disturbing picture of the ‘mind set’ of serving police officers, who have by their own admissions been involved in what is clearly a campaign of harassment and intimidation against those who are legally speaking out about animal abuse at Oxford university.

What can be disclosed about the recordings at this stage is that officers refer to Oxford University as a “sleeping giant” and that the protestors do not realise just “how powerful the university is”. The officers then go on to to talk about the influence Oxford University has, saying that “it’s got Masons” and “influence with MP’s” and “barristers” The officers also mention that the university also has friends in the “DTI”, Department of Trade and Industry, as well as the “Home Office”.

In the transcript the officers talk about the need to: “incite people with a double buggy” (prams) to go through the protestors so: “that they can’t get through”, they then go on to talk about how this would allow them to impose public order conditions.

Probably most disturbing parts of the transcript are where officers refer to a leading SPEAK organiser saying that they need to “persecute him” and “Wage a dirty war”. What is also disturbing about the tape is the attitude police officers take towards female members of the public. Officers refer to passing members of the public who are female as “Bitches”.

The transcripts also clearly reveal that Thames Valley police have played an active part in trying to create the conditions in which a draconian High Court injunction can be implemented against SPEAK.

According to an article on the SPEAK website “the picture that is now being revealed at Bicester magistrates court is one which should cause the deepest concern for anyone who truly believes in ‘Free Speech’. It is interesting to note that despite the sensational story unravelling at Court which is highlighting the extent of corruption within Thames valley Police and the influence Oxford University exert within not just the police but other public and what should be neutral bodies, journalists are conspicuous by their absence”.

The article goes on to say: “This case has taken on dimensions that go far beyond the events of June 21st 2006. It is self evident that the political nature of this case eclipses questions of the limits of protest defined by public order legislation to a question of whether we any longer have any rights to protest at all in the UK today.”

The HLS injunction story – a not so brief account

Article featured on the Arkangel website

Huntingdon Life Sciences – a company that will basically undertake contract testing on animals for anyone willing to pay for their services – has faced opposition from animal rights campaigners since as far back as 1978. By April 2003, they and anyone connected with them had been the subject of a particularly intensive animal rights campaign, which had piled on the pressure for four years with hundreds of protests and actions.

HLS had been exposed several times for its employees’ routine cruelty to the animals that were used, abused and killed in their vivisection laboratories. Of these exposes, the most famous undercover investigation was that by Zoe Broughton, which resulted in 1999 with the broadcasting by Channel 4 of her story in “It’s a Dog’s Life”. The subsequent uproar rekindled a new campaigning fervour against Huntingdon, and several groups were established with Huntingdon as their sole focus. Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) was one of those groups. The following few years saw intense campaigning across the spectrum of the animal rights and animal liberation movements.

It is fair to say that Huntingdon Life Sciences took a hammering, to the point that the government had to step in to save the company. As well as providing them with material support in the form of a bank account and insurance, there were moves to change the law in order to crack down on the effectiveness of animal rights tactics. However, the criminal law was not moving fast enough for the company, which – as a result of animal rights activities – were being forced off the stock market.

Into this gap stepped Arthur Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden, a solicitor-advocate based in Greys Inn, London. He had helped draft the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 [PHA], a law originally meant to deal with stalkers, but the lucrative business was not to be found in protecting vulnerable women; in fact, it was to be found in helping multinationals fight off protestors. Lawson-Cruttenden approached the Government, Police and Huntingdon with the proposal that protest be declared harassment. By thus cleverly misappropriating the law, the police would then gain powers by dint of civil injunctions applied under the auspices of the act, to arrest whoever broke the terms of said injunctions.

And so it was that – despite attempts to give the idea short shrift – the courts found in favour of Huntingdon in April 2003, with the PHA used to stop legitimate protest by citing illegal activity as justification. Attacks on homes and cars of Huntingdon’s employees were deemed sufficient excuse to restrict and silence protest outside Huntingdon’s two sites in the UK. Above ground, legal activists were being penalised because of the actions and activities (for the most part already illegal) undertaken covertly by unknown individuals.

The terms of the injunction

1. banned home demos outright (these were later made illegal in the criminal law);
2. forbade trespass on Huntingdon’s land or in a wide exclusion zone around their premises
3. restricted demonstrations at their sites to once a week for six hours maximum and no drums, megaphones, etc at all
4. forbade access through the exclusion zone except on or from protests.
5. protests at each site were restricted to once a week for a maximum of six hours, to particular designated areas with numbers limited to 25 people.

This differed from other civil injunctions in that the penalties and risks had changed. The police now had the power to arrest for breach of the injunction and that alone could carry a maximum of five years, regardless of the crime or its status. For example, the penalty far outstripped the penalty for trespass, formerly a purely civil offence.

There were other draconian features: the injunction applied to whomever HLS decided they were going to serve it, regardless of the actions of those individuals. An additional feature was that costs were not necessarily restricted to the named individual defendants, but potentially enforceable against anyone deemed to be a protestor. SHAC was declared representative of everyone who wanted to protest, regardless of whether there was any common interest between other protestors and SHAC.

Eventually, the law changed considerably, rendering many of these things illegal anyway, and the police became keener to use their powers under existing public order legislation as the cries of the pharmaceuticals and other power industries reached the upper echelons of government. It should be noted that no one was ever convicted of breach of the injunctions, and there were relatively few arrests. However, Huntingdon and Lawson-Cruttenden had got their way: a draconian order that created a chill effect on protest against Huntingdon itself.

Fortunately, by that stage the campaigns against Huntingdon were moving away from the company itself to secondary and tertiary targets: the suppliers and customers who kept the company in business. These were proving to be more inventive and effective, keeping the activists one step ahead in the game. However, Lawson-Cruttenden, selling his wares to other targets of animal rights activists was embarking on his own shenanigans in the court. An injunction that covered so many people and restricted their human rights was always going to be contentious and thus there was a duty to deal with it quickly. However, having achieved what they set out to do, Lawson-Crutttenden began a series of tactics that would see the case being stretched out so it took four years to come to trial, not the six to nine months envisaged originally.

One of the main delaying tactics was to change the goal posts, constantly re-pleading the case, often poorly, making it difficult to know what was being defended. This alone cost at least a year. This was deliberate, and was used right up to the last minute as a way of hampering proceedings, and also putting an extra burden on the people defending the case.

Another tactic was to produce huge volumes of material that was simply irrelevant. Of course he was simply billing his clients for the privilege of wasting money. Initially, the defendants paid attention to the material he was producing, but it was soon learnt that most of it was simply a waste of time. Lawson-Cruttenden likes to swamp the court with large amounts of material, usually sensational but often of little material connection to the matters at hand. He would attempt to drop outrageous claims into the argument, which were unsubstantiated and unrelated. He treated the global animal rights movement as a single organisation under the control of SHAC in order to mislead.

Materials were served at the last minute or in court so the defendants often had the minimum amount of time to actually prepare and deal with issues, using their lack of knowledge of the intricacies of the system against them. This unprofessional approach was an abuse of the court.

At other times, having an injunction in place, they simply ignored the fact they were meant to be leading it to trial; in one hearing the defendants had to bring it back to court for which they were awarded costs.

Lawson-Cruttenden holds himself out as a market leader in this style of injunctions, and charges up to £500 per hour for his services alone. Yet it was clear from his actions that his knowledge of the law was poor, much to the amazement of those defending it. He would constantly put forward spurious legal arguments that sapped defendants’ time and were blatantly false. Documents were served at the wrong time; there is a whole list of poor case management skills and worse still his ability to draft documents important to the case has time and time again been shown to be flawed. It is rare for a judge to criticise; it is something they go out of the way to avoid if anything, yet they were forced time and time again to complain about the quality of his work. One judge called his Particulars of Claim – the central document on which any civil case is based – a “dog’s breakfast”.

Embarrassingly for him, he has been ordered on several occasions to get professional counsel in to write up his documents and argue the case for him as he has made such a fool of himself. In the Oxford University and Harrods injunctions, he was fired from both cases – and this from a ‘market leader’ and one of the first solicitor-advocates in the country.

By 2006, even the judiciary were becoming worried about the delays in the case. Lawson-Cruttenden had achieved in getting draconian injunctions for his clients’ and was happy to let things coast along. There were now close to 20 injunctions awaiting the outcome of the HLS trial and there was no sign of that happening. The delay and subsequent backlog was embarrassing for the court and they did not like it. About this time it became clear that there was something afoot behind closed doors as the easy ride he had been getting in the courts began to get tougher. Trial was going to happen whether he liked it or not.

One thing that HLS and Lawson-Cruttenden had not anticipated was that animal rights activists would actually contest the case. It was not the prevalent attitude at the time, and in the early days it had seemed that defendants would follow the usual line. When people started coming forward and moving things of their accord it put the solicitors on the back foot, creating more work for them and putting a stop on some of their more outrageous tactics designed to cower activism and fish for more information on SHAC. Another aspect was that HLS and Lawson-Cruttenden were using the case to attempt to investigate SHAC and expose its supporters so they could go after them for costs and essentially ruin the campaign. This was fought all the way and ultimately they were unsuccessful, partly because of Lawson-Cruttenden’s incompetence and partly because people were prepared to defend their rights. Malpractice by Lawson-Cruttenden, it seems, was fast becoming something of a by-word, but we’ll get to that a little later…

In October 2006, SHAC offered to settle, allowing for an injunction to remain in place, but with megaphones allowed back. HLS refused and it seemed that a four week trial starting on 5th March, 2007 was inevitable. Up until the very end, Lawson-Cruttenden kept up his disruptive tricks. He served a whopping 36-lever arch of files for the case alone, amounting to over 8500 pages. In the final judgement, it was noted that this was excessive by at least 30 files, an unprecedented comment, but one that echoed earlier concerns by previous judges at the amount of material being unnecessarily presented.

In the few weeks before the trial, Justice Holland, who was to be the trial judge, took over and instituted a new regime with regards to case management. Having previously criticised the work of Lawson-Cruttenden, he brought a firm hand and was not prepared to allow the case to stray from the path or be delayed any further. He dismissed Lawson-Cruttenden’s time-wasting applications as being irrelevant. He established early on that there was going to be an order and the essential matters were the points of difference in the order as it would be handed down.

Justice Holland was not a stranger to these proceedings and had his own ideas of what constituted lawful protest and what served as a reasonable restriction of the right to protest. The trial was curtailed to a week and much of the material prepared by HLS and Lawson-Cruttenden simply fell to one side, especially their accounts of protest from the period 1999 to 2003 by which the hoped to keep draconian terms in place. Justice Holland was also alert to legal anomalies regarding representation orders and terms in the order that should not be there.

Trial progressed from the 5th to the 9th March, 2007 with Tuesday 6th being a visit to the two premises of Huntingdon to take into account factors of geography and weather in relation to protest. From the point of view of the Defendants it was a good move as it allowed them to get around the hyperbole of Lawson-Cruttenden and his barrister and gave the judge an accurate view of the nature of protests at the sites.

Huntingdon fought bitterly to stop the use of megaphones, full stop. Witnesses were brought forward by HLS claiming that the sound of even one megaphone was enough to frighten them and bring on nightmares and anxiety attacks. They shed crocodile tears, but their evidence was inconsistent. For instance, they claimed they could hear a single megaphone two miles away yet not in their own workplace, and so on. The Defendants conceded on other noise-making equipment and produced their own order with definitions of protestors and so on, largely based on Holland’s own order in the Oxford University injunction case. The Defendants won the point and a megaphone was to be permitted at the weekly demo between 12noon and 1pm. HLS continued to fight this to the very end, but the judge was having none of it.

It was more than we’d gone in with, and seems a small point, but it was a significant victory. After four years of silence, limited noise was back at the demos against Huntingdon. The injunctions were as much about silencing lawful protests as stopping illegal activity, and this abuse of the Stalker’s Act was being fought to protect the right to protest.

Overall, we came out feeling we’d done better than we’d expected. Lawson-Cruttenden and HLS had failed to railroad the judge and by being reasonable, we had won various concessions. Other points of victory were:

1. to get a demonstration of unlimited numbers at each site with megaphones to be permitted inside the exclusion zone.
2. the definition of protestor restricted to those campaigning in concert with SHAC to stop experimentation on live animals at Huntingdon Life Sciences
3. A car allowed at both sites, so making life easier for protestors to get there and also somewhere to shelter in bad weather.
4. The number of people at the Alconbury site increased from 25 to 30 people.
5. The right to republish and respond to HLS’s comments which named their staff is now permitted.

Though it seems paltry compared to unfettered demonstration, it has moral and psychological victory for protestors. Their right to protest at all was protected and HLS failed to effectively muzzle them. Lawson-Cruttenden overstretched himself and promised too much; in our final analysis, Justice Holland reigned him in. We could have done a lot worse, frankly. Furthermore, over-zealous police officers will be prevented from being arbitrary when it comes to imposing conditions under s.14 regarding protest – a high court judge has spoken having heard the evidence!

On a legal point, the judge noted that though orders could be binding on a large number of people, they could not be enforced. The full implications of this are yet to be discovered, but the removal of the enforcement clause from the order protects people not specifically named as defendants from being chased for costs.

Collusion with the police

While it is generally accepted that there has always been collusion between the police and HLS, during the course of the trial, it became very clear just how deep it went. PC 57 Ken Smith of Cambridge Constabulary was a familiar figure to protestors whom he thoroughly disliked. Despite having responsibility for policing protest outside the Alconbury site, he has gone on to become head of security at Huntingdon itself. Perhaps that goes some way to explaining how in HLS’s logs of protestors, security guards were able to provide the full names of many of the protestors.

However, Mr Smith did not play a role in the injunctions; that limelight was stolen by Inspector Stephen Pearl, formerly of Cambridge Constabulary and now heading up the National Extremist Tactical Coordination Unit, dedicated to fighting (however ineptly) animal rights campaigns around the country. (See http://www.vivisection.info/netcu_watch for more on them). From the beginning, Pearl was working closely with Lawson-Cruttenden in providing information to the lawyers to help them build their case.

In various bills for costs, Lawson-Cruttenden states he was drafting Pearl’s witness statements. These statements were crucial for HLS’s case, as the judiciary is very fond of the police’s ‘impartial’ position in preventing crime and disorder and protecting peoples health, safety & rights. Pearl’s obvious collusion was an attempt to manipulate the judiciary in its basest form.

However, more serious was the amount of information flowing between Lawson-Cruttenden and the police, in particular Pearl. At their request, Lawson-Cruttenden was being given entire prosecution files in case (in particular the Operation Arletty files), containing information with innumerable personal details of activists and of SHAC. It was information that would normally be restricted. The police are bound by disclosure laws, and they were blatantly ignoring them. But both parties were clearly colluding in this.

This was not restricted to the Huntingdon case but also was demonstrated in the case of EDO MBM vs Axworthy, when in another injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act against anti-arms trade protestors, Lawson-Cruttenden attempted to go behind the law and the court to obtain details of people’s criminal convictions and other materials. Lawson-Cruttenden has attempted various tactics to get around his legal obligations, including giving “undertakings under s.35 of the Data Protection Act” to the police – there is no such power in that law.

The most flagrant breach of the law was when he obtained from Pearl the details of 52 protestors and attempted to get a court order for the police to release their convictions to him – if we had not already been kicking up a fuss about the propriety of releasing details at whim he would not have sought an order at all – despite having the details from Pearl in his office. This was frowned upon by Justice Cox who told him to contact the 52 for their permission to release the details. This of course was refused, but Lawson-Cruttenden went behind Justice Cox’s order to get the public certificates of conviction using the information supplied by Pearl and right up to the last minute was trying to get the convictions admitted as evidence (even though there was no clear relationship between the various incidents and the campaigns against HLS). There is no way around it – this is a breach of a court order and Lawson-Cruttenden needs to be censured for it.

Rizwan Majid, a junior solicitor in Lawson-Cruttenden’s firm made statements as to why the 52 people were of interest to HLS, including information on certain individuals that could only have come from the police and nowhere else. His response was that he’d forgotten! He now appears to have left the employ of Lawson-Cruttenden somewhat conveniently for both.

When activist Jan Lawrence was sent to prison for ALF activity, Lawson-Cruttenden attempted to seize her property as there was a default injunction against the ALF and he claimed she was a member. Again, he was inappropriate in his attempts to do this, and also had material wrongfully disclosed by the police. He was seen off.

The other case of significance is that of Don Currie. Named on the injunction from the very beginning, Lawson-Cruttenden used the SHAC address for service on him of the papers, despite having his home address prior to the beginning of the case. After he was sent to prison, where he was not able to defend himself properly, HLS went after his house as there was a default order against him and thus he was liable for costs even though he had never engaged in defending the case or been properly served. At a subsequent hearing to defend his house and thus the home of his children, further impropriety by the solicitors was revealed. Rizwan Majid, no doubt on behalf of his company, pretty much perjured himself in a signed witness statement, stating they did not know Don’s address when all the evidence was to the contrary.

It has been a long story, and it is soon over as only the hearing determining costs remain. HLS through their solicitor Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden have abused the courts and misused the law in a desperate multi-pronged attack on SHAC. They have tried to scare people off from protesting, seize property, conducted fishing exercises on SHAC, unlawfully received material from the police and encouraged such, attempted to browbeat activists into submission by overloading them with unnecessary work and the fear of costs. It is a catalogue of unlawful and dubious activity to crush activism. This from a man who maintains he’s really on our side (yeah – you also did cases for the British Field Sport Society).

Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden has made a fortune from the companies he has been billing for these injunctions, but they have failed. Companies who have taken out injunctions such as BOC pulled out from HLS anyway. Other companies such as Harrods and EDO have found them to be millstones around their neck. He may be rich, but he has overplayed his hands and activists are able to fight back against his devious ways. At the end of the day, Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden, and it is entirely in his hands, is happy to take money from animal experimenting industries, from polluters such as nPower and arms manufacturers such as EDO MBM, in order to suppress legitimate protest.

However, the last laugh is proving to be on the protestors, something no-one expected.

UPDATE 3 April, 2007

Yesterday saw the hearing dealing with the costs of the case take place. Sitting again before Justice Holland, he ruled that SHAC could be made to pay the costs of the case in the first instance. He was then asked to consider the issue of whether should they made to carry that burden.

For the first year of the injunction (up to May 2004) he found that HLS were entitled to their costs. However, for the remaining period he found for SHAC. The basis for this decision was that on 16th October, 2006, the option for a final settlement had been put forward by SHAC, including some of the points which were found later in their favour in the final judgement and order. Justice Holland found that HLS had not acted in the right spirit by seeking to deal with the terms of the order.

This seems like a minor point given that huge costs are still heading SHAC’s way, but it was a censoring of the conduct of Huntingdon and Lawson-Cruttenden. Justice Holland took the sting out of their actions once again. It is quite telling that given all the press interest over the original injunctions, HLS have not bothered to press release the story this time. It is not hard to see that they have come out of this injunction looking embarrassed. Even the QC they hired to fight the case won’t be touching them again.

Mocking the families of murder victims

Let’s compare the sentences handed down yesterday to non-violent animal activists Mark , Suzanne and Teresa with those of convicted murderers in the UK.

As you will see, Mark’s four year sentence for allegedly putting people off their work who are involved in the torture of animals far surpasses the sentences handed down to those that have committed the most brutal of murders.

Yesterday’s sentencing was just another example of the lengths that the capitalist system will go to in a bid to protect the huge profits derived from the torture of animals in laboratories.

* A top policeman has spoken of his shock at the sentence given to a 16-year-old who knifed and killed a schoolboy in a Shirley park. Detective Inspector Neil Cochlin who led the investigation into the manslaughter of 17-year-old Gavin Brown, said he could understand the “anger and upset” his family felt at the killer’s three year jail sentence.
Story here

* A 22-year-old man has been sentenced to a minimum of two years in jail for killing a pensioner who challenged him about urinating in the street.
Story here

* A Pontypool sales executive who killed another driver in a head-on collision, just two minutes after sending a text message, has been jailed for two years.
Story here

* In 1991 Joseph McGrail was tried in Birmingham for the murder of his wife. He pleaded provocation on the basis that his wife was an alcoholic and swore at him. He killed her by repeatedly kicking her in the stomach. At the trial the judge commented …..”this lady would have tried the patience of a saint”, he gave him a two year suspended sentence.
Story here

* In 1995 Brian Steadman was jailed for three years after he hit his wife 13 times with a hammer, he pleaded diminished responsibility due the his wife’s constant nagging.
Story here

* In 1997 Joseph Swinburne killed his wife by stabbing her eleven times when she told him she was leaving him for another man. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 200 hours community service.
Story here

* In 1992 Judge Dennison gave Bisla Rajinder Singh, an 18 month sentence suspended for one year for the manslaughter of his wife on the grounds of provocation. The judge told him “you have suffered through no fault of your own….your wife was a domineering lady with a sharp and persistent tongue”.
Story here

* Lucy Kellet was preparing to leave Oliver Kellet after years of abuse. As she as waiting for the removal van to take her to her new home he stabbed her repeatedly with a bowie knife. He pleaded manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and was given 3 year probation.
Story here

SOCPA – barbara tucker faces jail

Original article posted on Indymedia 30th January 2007

in the same week that John Reid faces pressure over prison overcrowding, barbara tucker, a peaceful anti-war campaigner, faces jail for breaching draconian bail conditions imposed by judge snow, banning her from entering an area within 1km of parliament.

at about 9pm 29/01/07, Barbara Tucker was arrested by two officers from charing cross police station as she stood quietly outside downing street with her large pink banner against genocide.

earlier in trafalgar square, four community support officers kept her under surveillance, and then followed her to downing street where they kept a discreet distance while she stood by the gates. the diplomatic officers ignored her, but after around fifteen minutes a police van turned up and two policemen stepped out. they opened the rear of the van before even approaching her, then came over and told her they were arresting her for breach of bail.

in a calm and dignified statement, barbara told the arresting officers that they knew she had notified the metropolitan police commissioner on 3rd march 2006 and had failed to investigate the matter. the met had not dealt with this issue in a timely manner, and the commissioner had failed to authorise as he was legally obliged to do.

she said it is not a criminal offence to say ‘stop killing the children’. she pointed out that the commissioner was now the subject of an independent police complaints commission investigation, as were the two arresting officers themselves over previous dealings with barbara, including an alleged assault on her. she asked the police to go and do their proper duties before arresting her. after barbara finished her statement, she quietly allowed the police to lead her into the back of the van, and she was driven to charing cross.

she will be held overnight, and will face court in the morning where it is likely she will be remanded to holloway prison. her solicitors will be trying to contest the bail conditions in the crown court at the earliest opportunity.

barbara has been pursued and harassed by police for more than a year over her pink banner which she wears in parliament square and outside downing street on a regular basis. at first she was told she could not join brian haw’s (then exempt) demonstration, so she sent an email notifying the police of her ongoing protest in order to comply. ever since then, although it is clear that barbara has notified, the police have failed to authorise her, and have ‘reported her for possible summons’ on more than seventy occasions.

the only case so far to have been heard in court was thrown out by district judge snow as ‘void ab initio’, and since then, police have repeatedly failed to present evidence against barbara despite countless pre-trial hearings. cases against her have been thrown out on several occasions, and one previous attempt to restrict her movements with bail conditions was also challenged and thrown out.

it seems that barbara has ‘confounded’ the law with her unorthodox notification by email of an open-ended protest “until this government goes”. police have tried various other methods to restrict her, with cases of obstruction of the highway, obstructing a police officer, and even attempts to have her sectioned under the mental health act – but still after more than a year, nothing has been proved in court.

it seems they are not sufficiently confident to simply face her in court over a ‘serious organised crime and police act’ offence, and as the months go by, the pressure on barbara has been racking up.

the bail conditions imposed today bring into stark reality the conceptual black line that artist mark wallinger drew on the floor of tate britain as part of his recreation of brian haw’s original 40 metre display which he has named ‘state britain’. although the whole of the tate actually lies outside the proscribed exclusion zone, if barbara were to step over his line, she would be breaching bail.

instead, she chose to commit her breach in the very place that her protest is about – outside the residence of tony blair. she believes it is he who should be in the dock, for the crime of genocide, not her for holding her pink banner.

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