Charges Dropped Against Protestors At Weapons Making Factory EDO MBM

13 August 2007 Smash EDO Press Release

Police Drop Investigation Of Curious EDO Activist

Sussex police have dropped another criminal investigation of a protester who took part in a student anti-war demonstration outside EDO MBM on 21 May 2007.

The curious protester was arrested on suspicion of Aggravated Trespass after entering the EDO MBM car park by slipping through a gap between two police officers guarding an entrance. He made it to the front door of the building, which was unfortunately locked, before being apprehended. He was then taken away and held at Hollingbury Detention Centre for over 14 hours before being released without charge on draconian and unlawful bail conditions.

Later a letter from Sussex police showed CID were still investigating whether or not the curious protester had committed a crime and extended police bail for another two months, now looking into the possibility of a lesser charge under Section 5 on grounds of ‘harassment, alarm, and distress’.

Shortly before the curious protester entered the car park, Paul Hills, Director of EDO MBM had accused the protester of harassing him (in front of two police witnesses), as the protester asked him (on video tape) to explain why he had lied under oath in several court cases about his company’s supply of components to Israel.

Today police confirmed they would take no further action in the investigation. If charges had been brought, Paul Hills, as witness for the prosecution, would have had to answer questions in court about the interview that he claimed had caused him harassment, and the curious protester would then be able to claim a defence of ‘detecting crime’, thus opening up the question of lawfulness of Mr Hills evidence in previous trials.

Andrew Beckett, for Smash EDO said today. ‘ Rather than trying to intimidate peaceful protesters who are simply trying to bring attention to the truth, Sussex CID would be better off investigating EDO MBM’s web of deceit, and the real links between EDO MBM’s products and genodidal war crimes committed in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan. If they think we are going to go away because they insist on throwing people in a police cell for 14 hours just for asking arms dealers awkward questions, then they underestimate our resolve. We will be here until the truth is brought to light, and EDO are gone for good.’

ENDS

17th July 2007 Smash EDO Press Release

Police drop Prosecutions against Two Anti Arms Trade Activists

Sussex police have dropped prosecutions against Dan Glass, head of Sussex University Students’ Union, and Marcus Wise, anti-arms trade activists involved in protests against Brighton arms manufacturers EDO MBM.

Both were arrested, on two separate occasions, under Section 5 of the 1986 Public Order Act (for using language or behaviour intended to cause harassment alarm or distress). The arrests were made in connection with regular demonstrations outside the factory. The prosecution of Marcus Wise had already resulted in two day in court in preparation for trial.

Sarah Johnson, Spokeswoman for Smash EDO, said ‘Sussex Police have failed in another attempt to suppress freedom of expression. Dan and Marcus were exercising their right to freedom of speech and were targeted for arrest. The police are attempting to criminalise protesters engaging in criticism of employees of EDO MBM.’

Sussex Police have made nearly forty arrests in the course of the four year campaign against EDO MBM. The vast majority of these arrests have led to acquittals or charges being dropped.

Andrew Beckett, of Smash EDO, said ‘The Police and Crown Prosecution Service are spending massive amounts of public money on politically motivated prosecutions of protesters. They have consistently failed in these attempted prosecutions and they will not succeed in intimidating us, we will continue campaigning against EDO MBM until it closes down.’

ENDS

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