Last week Sean Kirtley was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison followed by 5 years of draconian limits on his everyday life all in all a 10 year sentence. Those of us who have protested alongside him testify that he was never abusive or threatening, he did not cause criminal damage, he did not harm anyone or threaten to. He did what many activists of every denomination do, he handed out leaflets, put posts on an inoffensive website, held a banner (eg stop Sequani animal testing) and vocally expressed his disgust at experiments on animals without the use of expletives or threats.
The odious creep Judge Ross has defaecated over the hard won right to protest and even given commendations to the police who orchestrated this crackdown on what little democracy we do have. Everyone involved in this case from the snivelling liars behind the screens to the prosecutor Lockhart is an absolute disgrace to humanity. They all clearly are of the opinion that peacefully expressing your views is a worse crime than raping a child or killing someone and we utterly condemn their lack of basic decency and integrity.
Dave Griffiths who was manipulated into a guilty plea even though he stood about on demos often not even holding a banner and never shouting was given 30 weeks suspended for 2 years, a hundred hours community service and a 2 year CRASBO. He has NO previous convictions.
Of course Netcu have popped something up on their website about the whole affair using Sean’s conviction and sentence as a figleaf for their failure to incarcerate the other 11 activists despite squandering millions of pounds of tax-payers money. Maybe DI Williams could tell us all what he means by “lawful protest” because it would appear to mean writing an occasional letter to the paper or an MP to mildly criticise. Whilst DI Williams and his gremlins have exaggerated this case to the max’ ordinary folk suffering from attacks by actual criminals have been left to fend for themselves despite paying for this farce.
Ross is quoted as saying that Sean organised a campaign which involved “harassment and intimidation of staff at Sequani and its partners and neighbouring premises, criminal damage, assault, annoying communications and letter writing campaigns”. If he said that then he is either lying or he had not listened to any of the evidence. Of course Netcu have a very vivid imagination, its the additives in the donuts!
Harassment and intimidation: Anyone who cannot cope with peaceful demonstrations during which none of them were harmed or threatened should maybe not work at an animal torture centre. Quite frankly histrionics, exaggerations and lies from behind a screen about how traumatised you are because people object to you poisoning and murdering innocent creatures does not count as harassment or intimidation to anyone of normal resolve. Security guards at least had some integrity by saying that they were neither intimidated or harassed and considering that they are the only workers we speak to surely they provide some sort of benchmark.
Criminal damage: We are only aware of one incident of damage, a window was broken at a company connected with Sequani, accidentally by one activist who owned up to it. Sean was not involved. So Ross believes he should serve 4.5 years for someone else’s action. Even if Sean had broken the window on purpose is this really worse than raping someone, or beating someone to a pulp?
Assault NO-ONE has ever been assaulted on any demonstration except us by Sequani employees. If anyone has been assaulted why was evidence not put before the jury? This is a disgraceful, blatant lie.
Annoying communications and letter writing campaigns. First of all a company like Sequani hate anyone who does not think that they are the most fabulous people on the planet. Of course many of us think that they are despicable animal abusers. Many people write polite letters to companies with dubious morals when all that company wants are letters telling them how great they are. Tough Sequani deal with it. Malicious letters of course are very naughty and those who send them can go to prison. Either way Sean is not responsible for letters written, calls made or faxes sent by anyone else. To lay the blame at his feet is nonsense. It is possible that if anything bad happens to a Sequani worker for example a mugging that this will be attributed to known campaigners using this logic. Therefore run a campaign against an animal research organisation and you are responsible for every little offence given over which you have no control, no evidence needed.
The Register www.theregister.co.uk have added more fantasy to the proceedings by alleging that Sequani managers were followed home and verbally abused! This has never happened and there was no evidence given in court. Inevitably poor Gladys Hammond has been dug up yet again as some sort of justification for Sean’s sentence. For the record he was not involved in the desecration of any graves whatsoever! Indeed none of us have been.
We would like to repeat our warning to ALL protesters of every denomination that this piece of legislation is not specific to animal rights groups. Holier than though proclamations that only other causes matter or that we deserve to be treated worse than murderers will not sound so clever when others are attacked by the state. Anyone (the definition is broad) who harms an animal research organisation could be at risk for example Monsanto are by definition an animal research organisation are GMO campaigners at risk? We think that they could be ditto campaigners against climate change outside a Shell garage ad infinitum. There is only one loophole which protects those involved in industrial disputes.
We have no intention of backing down, we are not just fighting for the animals tortured and murdered at Sequani but the human right to actually express opposition against injustice without being imprisoned.
We will be at the gates of Sequani in Ledbury on Sunday 8th June at 12.00. Please join us to protest against this disgraceful attack on Sean and ultimately all of us.