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.


Demonstrations outside HLS on days of SHAC sentencing

Some of us will be engaging in legal and peaceful protests in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk on the days on which Greg, Natasha, Heather, Gavin, Dan A, Dan W and Gerrah are sentenced for conspiracy to blackmail. Our reasons are as follows:

Animal Rights
Huntingdon Life Sciences kill 500 animals every day each one is an individual capable of suffering often left to die alone and in pain when the workers lock up at 17.00 after being poisoned or undergoing surgery.
Products which can maim and kill

HLS is a contract testing laboratory, they test anything for anyone as long as it pays. According to their own website they test artificial colourings, flavourings and sweeteners, herbicides, GM food and other products, plastics, industrial chemicals, “health foods”, dietary supplements, drugs etc under the headings pharmaceutical, crop protection, biopharmaceuticals, chemical, food and vetinary. All of these products are tested on animals and if passed as “safe” will be inhaled, ingested, drunk, absorbed through the skin or otherwise inflicted on an unsuspecting public. HLS even justify testing food on animals by saying “we need to be sure it is safe to eat”, of course it would be if it wasn’t doused with pesticides, wrapped in clingfilm and packed full of additives!

Factory Farming
HLS prop up the meat and dairy industry by experimenting on farm animals to force “productivity” even further. They offer to infect cows with mastitis (a very painful condition). Meanwhile farm animals are pumped full of antibiotics and we wonder why MRSA and VRSA are on the rise! Look up for information on the meat industry regarding health, climate change, pollution, world hunger and extreme cruelty.

Corporate axis of evil
HLS has very nasty bedfellows the following are or have been customers :

Bayer when they were IG Faben they actually paid for Jewish women and used them in experiments in Nazi concentration camps. More recently they produced Baycol a cholesterol lowering drug which killed over 30 people before it was withdrawn.

Roche also had involvement with the Nazis i.e Xyclon B!

Union Carbide killed 5000 people at Bhopal in India in1984 at a gas plant due to criminal negligence, the people of that area suffer immeasurably from birth defects and many diseases as a direct result. Neither Union Carbide or Dow (who are also customers of HLS and are now responsible for sorting things out) can be bothered to clear up their mess or adequately compensate their victims .
DuPont produced a pesticide called Benlate/ Benomyl. Not only is it toxic to the harmless and essential for everyone’s very survival earthworm it is a possible carcinogen. It caused birth defects which involved 42 babies being born without eyes .

Shell poisoned land and water in the Niger Delta. When the people who faced death by pollution and starvation protested Shell supported the army dealing with the situation. This involved chopping the arms and legs off of children and lots or torture and murder. Ken SaroWiwa led the campaign against Shell he was murdered by being hanged .

Glaxo Smith Kline produced an anti depressant known as Prozac/Seroxat. It has caused aggression, suicide and birth defects. It is also very difficult for many people to stop using once they become “hooked”. GSK have made a lot of profit out of the misery of people who would have managed perfectly well without the drug. .

Cargill…where to start! Involved in GMOs, closely linked to Mc Donalds they produce EVERY item of chicken sold by the “restaurant” in the UK. They have a disgusting slaughterhouse in Hereford which kills thousands of chickens every day bar one called Rocky saved by 2 brave activists from the depths of hell last year. They also abuse some of their workers who are under constant surveillance and at the mercy of gang masters.

Monsanto who would like a monopoly on world food production have decimated the independence of farmers in India who have been made dependant on their seeds at a considerable cost. This has led to suicides and hunger so outraged were the farmers that their campaign was called “cremate Monsanto”. Monsanto’s GM crops infest conventional crops and they have even charged farmers for using their technology when this infestation occurs! No-one knows what the long term impact on our health will be, we have no say in the matter.

Please log on to for more information on HLS, The above companies and many others with highly incestuous links to one another in their greedy quest for profit above all else. Those individuals within each company who make decisions which have caused extreme suffering and death will never face prison, unfortunately.

Human Rights
We will be present to show solidarity with the 7 people to be sentenced and all those imprisoned for their beliefs. The 7 have been found guilty of conspiracy to blackmail because they were part of a campaign which is legal but persons unknown have carried out illegal acts separate from that campaign. In a nutshell this means now that any effective campaign could be at risk if someone does something illegal separate from that campaign, effectively known campaigners are potentially responsible for the actions of people they do not know which they may not even agree with or have any knowledge of. For example Dr Simon Festing of the Research Defence Society (apologists for all animal testing ) was involved in the campaign against the Newbury by-pass which involved illegal (albeit moral) acts including arson and blockading workers in which he did not exactly condemn as a spokesman for Friends of the Earth and nor should he have done. However the police could theoretically as a result of this verdict arrest Dr Festing on the grounds that he as a known activist conspired with persons unknown to burn bulldozers to a frazzle thus “blackmailing” the road builders. Something for Simon to think about before he pontificates any further on SHAC. Hypocrisy…it’s a terrible thing.

Police Oppression
NETCU are based in Huntingdon, (Cambridgeshire Police HQ is just off Hinchingbrooke Park Road) and as all grass roots activists are aware this bunch exist primarily to stop all actions legal or otherwise. The way in which the police bullied and harassed peaceful campaigners and locals at Climate Camp in 2008 is partly down to NETCU and putting above all else their desire to keep protest to letter writing or police approved demos with police approved banners and leaflets on issues that do not upset anyone. We intend to make it very clear that we are not intimidated by them by holding demonstrations on their home turf on the day of sentencing.

The Plan

19th January 2009

07.00-11.00 Activists will be at Harlan near Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon. This is where beagles are bred for laboratories including HLS they can be heard from the road. It is on the B1090 look for the razor wire. Head out of Huntingdon on the A141 towards March at the Texaco garage on the roundabout follow the 141 left to another roundabout, turn left onto the 1090 Harlan is halfway up this road on the right.

12.00-18.00 Activists will be present at HLS Alconbury just off the A1, first exit north from the A14/A1 roundabout.

20th January 2009

07.00-10.00 Activists will be at Harlan Abbots Ripton again

12.00-18.00 HLS Barrack Road, Eye near Occold, Suffolk, IP237PX

It is intended that at these venues protest is legal and disciplined and respectfully ask all activists to act in accordance with this. Anything and everything possible will be used against all grass roots activists on these 2 days let us not give the police or the media any ammunition or indeed the judge any excuse to up the sentences. Please bring food, hot drinks and warm clothes as both days will be long and cold.

Contact number 07914 795737

Another solidarity demo is being held on 20th January at 17.00 at Sequani Ledbury.

Thoughts on media hysteria post SHAC trial.

I’m fed up with the histrionics, the exaggerations and the lies about SHAC and so this is my contribution to counter them.

I write as someone who was involved with SHAC in the beginning in 1999 until now (although I only attend very few demonstrations). I have been heavily involved in the campaign in the past and have been convicted of quite a few offences and feel that I am fairly well placed to challenge some of the regurgitated nonsense spewed out by the press which might assist other activists as well as share my personal experiences of the police, the legal system and HLS.

I would never have believed that back in 1999 when Hillgrove closed that our civil liberties would become so eroded. Back then, August 1999, articles were published in the national press congratulating the campaign as the RSPCA moved in and re-homed every single cat. Tactics now , of course, are VERY different and much more restrained as new laws made demonstrations outside a “home” practically illegal, in fact demonstrating against vivisection at all is a gamble as to its legality with the 4 ½ year prison sentence dealt out to Sean Kirtley under SOCPA who had done absolutely nothing which broke the law. Anti vivisection demonstrations in the last 2 or 3 years have not included home demonstrations, or running into offices, or blockades even though all of these are non violent forms of protest used by many other campaigners over decades, for example the Suffragettes would march en masse to the homes of their detractors oft bearing flaming torches (in fact some of them burnt down the Home Secretary’s new house and indeed the Oxford boat house in fact there is a picture of JRR Tolkien looking at the scorched remains). Not once was any individual harmed by SHAC, for the record the incident in which the CEO of HLS was wounded was actually publicly condemned by SHAC .Why then the state was so keen to crush SHAC with unprecedented cooperation between police forces was not because SHAC is a “terrorist” organisation but because SHAC have forced not just HLS but the entire foul industry to the very brink of survival in the UK.

So what is in the papers and on telly? A round up shows the following accusations:

A 7 year campaign of terror!

A car with “evil scum” written on it.

Some individuals were branded paedophiles.

Gladys Hammond case gets brought up yet again

“Vicious” phone calls

Nasty things being sent in the post for example used condoms and sanitary towels.

Threats to infect with HIV

Walking into offices wearing masks, talking to workers etc.


Talking about how nasty vivisectors are in the “privacy” of their own homes as well as feelings of hatred and retribution .

Not handing in petitions to the government.

That Greg is the leader of the ALF

And in the Sunday Times the best of the lot (28/12/2008) “trying to kill” people!!!!

That seems to be about it and from another perspective not one “victim” was actually harmed by any animal rights activist let alone the defendants (except the HLS CEO). So let us look at each accusation in turn.

A 7 year campaign of terror!

Three of the convicted defendants had nothing to do with the campaign in the early years, they were still at school and had never heard of SHAC or HLS, only The Times bothered to point this out. The radio and TV news actually stated that the defendants themselves were directly responsible for everything done against HLS. The grave of Gladys was shown on national TV as though the defendants were in some way responsible even though nearly half of them were not involved then. A message to us all no doubt which should be worded, “If you become part of an effective campaign you are not only responsible for the actions of persons unknown now but for the actions of those who broke the law before you even heard of said campaign, we can’t catch those responsible so you can pay with your liberty instead”.

Personally I think that if I pour paint stripper on someone’s car (not that I would you understand, this is hypothetical) that I should be the person who is arrested and taken to court not the person who made the leaflet through which I learnt something that incensed me so much I broke the law. Even less should someone who joins a campaign 3 years later be made to pay for my actions which took place when they were a child.

SHAC has always been and remains a legal campaign (even the Times says so) which highlights the atrocities carried out at HLS. Years ago The News of the World had a campaign against paedophiles and printed addresses and the inevitable happened, Should the editor be prosecuted? Should The leaders of the Countryside Alliance face 14 years each in prison because some pro hunt activists threatened to poison the water supply and some did go slow protests on the M25? Should Plane Stupid be rounded up and incarcerated for the entirety of their youth because they effectively said, “continue cheap haul flights and we
will disrupt them”?

A car with “evil scum” written on it.

Not nice for the owner and illegal but hardly crime of the century. Thousands of people face this sort of thing every day and in fact get their cars burnt out on rough estates. Funny enough the police are not too interested unless the “victim” is involved in vivisection. I am not aware that ANY of the defendants are in any way responsible for this act.

Some individuals were branded paedophiles

Vivisection is all about poisoning, burning, mutilating and other forms of torturing of innocent victims. I don’t like calling animal abusers paedophiles, most of them are not what they do is often as bad and often worse but false accusations in my humble opinion undermine the value of animals as sentient beings and cause mistrust as well as sympathy being generated for the accused. Others will no doubt disagree. A child rapist will of course serve far less time in prison than an animal rights activist showing the real values of our warped society.

Gladys Hammond case gets brought up yet again

None of the defendants had anything whatsoever to do with this. In fact no activist has admitted to, been found guilty of or has been charged with disinterring Mrs Hammonds earthly remains. A huge question mark remains over whether it was animal rights activists or a state perpetuated hoax. For the sake of argument let us say that it was animal rights activists who did this ghastly deed, horrible yes but no living creature was harmed. In fact BAA intend to desecrate 3 entire graveyards if the Heathrow expansion goes ahead. What of the sacred relics of indigenous peoples which include their dead which languish in museums? Do BAA workers and museum curators deserve to go to prison? I will just say my own personal view is that whilst I view a dead body as an empty shell one of the hallmarks of decency is to show respect for that empty shell which includes the corpses of abused guinea pigs strewn over Darley Oaks farm. I remember once in the Lake District coming across a lamb literally splattered across the road. The ewe was hysterical and it was only when I stopped the traffic and retrieved the bits of body together and placed them at her feet that her pitiful lamentations stopped, meanwhile my companion who was a meat eater was throwing up. However grotesque this act may appear it is nowhere near the depths those who experiment on animals go to when they mutilate the bodies of the living. I repeat NONE OF THE DEFENDANTS HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS. Showing the grave in connection with this unrelated case was obviously meant to intimate that SHAC and indeed all animal rights campaigners dig up corpses.

“Vicious” phonecalls/Nasty things being sent in the post

Let me make this perfectly clear. Whilst I am sure that some activists did send junk mail, nasty things and make nasty phone calls do people seriously think that this was a one way street? Vivisectors and their sympathisers would often ring up threatening to torture animals, threatening to kill us, threatening all sorts of stuff. Once when I collected the Newchurch Campaign post the post office workers and I were subjected to the liquefied corpse of a mouse which stank the place out as indeed was Evesham police station where I took the little corpse and the jiffy bag it came in to have the crime recorded. Was I a sobbing wreck? No not really and I did not expect the police to spend £3.5 million investigating the offence which was just as well because they were saving their pennies for stopping peaceful protest at Sequani. On the 26th June 2003 the following came to my house; some leather bags, flowery dresses bizarrely addressed to Brian Cass, some jeans and some books and this is not uncommon. In fact sending leather knowingly to a vegan is morally the same as sending pork sausages to devout Muslims so please let us not even pretend that HLS workers are the divine paragons of innocence the media portray them as. I get lots of junk mail wittily addressed to Miss B. Hugger and lots of other amusing stuff. I have been sent pizzas that I have not ordered. I am not bothered it comes with the territory even though I have not done likewise to anyone else. I would suggest that someone who spends their days poisoning innocent creatures should stop whinging and also take this sort of thing in their stride, the wimps! Of course the police SHOULD be impartial on this matter, if 7 people are facing 14 years in prison because others sent nasty things in the post and making phone calls then should not those on the opposing side be prosecuted too? The media are aware of the fact that vivisectors and hunters threaten and harass animal rights people but always choose to omit that part of the tale which I find a bit sinister. Is it really any suprise in this climate that some activists lose all faith in legal campaigning and the courts? Talking of “nasty things” HLS and all their little fiends (sorry…friends!) love sending bits of paper to me usually attached to process servers with shades who peer into the house and last year Fidelity International sent 2 of their hired thugs not only to serve some nonsense on me but to go up straight to the window and photograph me. I can live with it but if I were to do the same to a Fidelity employee I would be imprisoned for a very long time. When did it become acceptable for private corporations to blatantly attempt to intimidate protestors at home?

Threats to infect with HIV

This is not pleasant but is clearly an empty threat. Even if a sanitary towel were infused with HIV infected blood the virus would well long dead within minutes let alone days during which it winds its way through the post. In fact some public loos pose more of a threat due to overflowing sani bins. Hepatitus is much more of a concern. What annoys me is the slack journalism that exaggerates the myth of HIV being something you get through the ether as opposed to unprotected sex or sharing needles with an infected person. Now even if someone actually deliberately infected a victim with HIV I think it is unlikely they would go to prison for up to 14 years. Very serious injuries inflicted with the utmost cruelty rarely receive even a third of this and we are talking about threats here, made not by the defendants but by other people.

Now on the news on 23rd December 2008 a bloke called Alistair Nisbet was gloating quite a bit no doubt because he was the senior prosecutor in this case. In November 2007 he made lots of threats which were as it turned out to be empty. There were many raids on 1st May2007 which included lots of people on the peripheries of this legal campaign, lots of computers were taken including mine. Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act Alistair demanded our PGP keys under pain of 2 years in prison, the fact that many of us did not use PGP or in some cases not even know how to turn on a computer or even have a computer mattered not to Alistair who basically “tried it on” in order to divide and scare people into giving him information. It did not work especially after Indymedia, the Register and the BBC all reported on the matter and lots of people were horrified by the prospect of the state blackmailing people into handing over personal files but it shows how the CPS are quite capable of playing dirty. A word of advice, often the CPS and the police are bluffing this was a prime example.

Walking into offices, talking to workers

Some papers put something about “breaking into“ offices. This is not what happens in the time honoured tradition of occupying offices and shops a tactic which MANY campaigns used not just SHAC. Nowadays there is something called Aggravated Trespass to take into account it used to only apply to “interfering with a legal activity” outside nut now applies inside too, however it is not illegal to occupy offices but can be if the right person tells you to leave and you do not. Back in the days when they could use reasonable force to move you and that was that I used to do this all the time often sitting down at board meetings, conference calls etc before being kicked out by security or the police(often literally, some of the bruises were quite spectacular!), on occasion workers and indeed managers would engage in conversation about vivisection, leaflets would be handed out. It paid to be polite and to try and be humorous, after all many workers had not heard about HLS and when they did they were outraged that the company they worked for was involved with such cruelty. On TV people in skull masks could be seen mulling around whilst one “victim” looks rather bemused, at least it made their working day a bit more exciting. Do those people deserve to spend up to14 years in prison for walking into an office, making a bit of noise, handing out leaflets and going outside again? To those who think they do get a grip!

Graffiti/Vandalism/Property damage

Of course this is not pleasant for those at the receiving end but surely if Joe Bloggs reads a leaflet about how Pfizer abused African children in grotesque experiments in the 21st century in which many of them were murdered and he is incensed but with that information he has choices;

1. Hide from the information, “this can’t be true, surely SOMEONE would have done SOMETHING”.
2. He can lobby his MP and write to newspapers and donate to charity
3. He can demonstrate legally and peacefully, hand out leaflets and maybe be civilly disobedient by blocking the gates at Pfizer’s HQ in Sandwich, Kent.
4. He can read the letter sent back by his MP (who happens to have just got a nice payout from Pfizer’s lobbyists) and look in vain for his letter in the paper, he can go to a demonstration and maybe face years in prison or he can decide that the only way to have any impact on this heartless corporation is to target those who make the decisions where it really hurts. He is a good person he does not wish to hurt them physically but he does want them to stop committing atrocities and so he torches cars belonging to executives, in a way which does not cause harm to any living thing of course. If he is caught, and he has been careful no criminal record, no presence on demonstrations, he may even face less time in prison than the person involved in producing the leaflet! Leafleting and peaceful protest have now become more dangerous to liberty than firebombing. Severe sentences mean that if someone is prepared to go to such lengths that they will try and make their risks worthwhile.

If the police cannot catch Joe Bloggs is that really the fault of the campaign which produced the leaflet? Should “the organisers” serve a sentence in his stead? Should anything (including newspaper reports and programmes such as Dispatches which reported on Pfizer’s disgusting crimes in Africa) which causes a multinational to be detested be forthwith abolished or should not a decent society put the executives responsible in the dock and charge them with genocide?

A very nasty case of intimidation from the police occurred when I was attacked by PC Manton. A woman came to my aid as I lay on the tarmac splattered in blood. She was none too happy with me or SHAC but as a decent person tried to make me comfortable and then came forward to the police to testify against Manton who had left me with life threatening injuries. I bumped into her long after the trial and she told me that since she became a prosecution witness the police would stop her car 3 times a week, there were death threats at home and when she spoke to the senior investigating officer he told her that he could not protect her and that it might be best if she did not testify at all. Now that’s what I call blackmail! This was a person who did not care for the animal rights movement but was brave enough to do her civic duty and who was terrorised for doing so. During the trial some of the jury looked petrified no wonder they found him not guilty if that is how the police were operating at that time. To my knowledge NEVER has any witness or juror been threatened by animal rights activists.

Talking about how nasty vivisectors are

It is said in The Times that Heather said to Dan “referring to those who worked inside HLS, “I could kill every last one of them and I wouldn’t think anything of it””. SO WHAT! This was a private conversation at home between 2 adults now if Heather had in fact killed every single last employee of HLS I can understand how this might be relevant but are we now as a population to be judged on everything we say in private? How many times has the phrase “I’m gonna bloody kill …..(insert your own nemesis here)” even when talking about loved ones been used?. Now for those who think it is acceptable to use this as evidence imagine you are on trial and someone has cherry picked the best quotes from 2 years of your private life to show you in your worst possible light. You are letting off steam about the bastard who cut you up at the roundabout, the traffic warden, the idiot who short-changed you, you interfering mother in law , Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, ALL politicians, ad infinitum it hardly makes you a terrorist. On the other hand maybe it does now you have been warned! Not even a saint, not even Ghandi would look good. Sorry if I am making a false accusation here but I bet in the privacy of their own homes and police stations our enemies even say they would like to kill us I would not expect them to go to prison for it in fact it is their private conversation they can say what they like, I don’t care. Heather did not kill, try to kill or threaten to kill anyone, she had what should have been a private conversation and if that is the worst that they could come up with after bugging an activist house for 2 years then really the defendants have been far more restrained than most of the population. Jeremy Clarkson in the SundayTimes (28/12/2008) writing about sales assistants says “do not sell my details to anyone in India or I will come round in the middle of the night and burn your shop down”, is he a “terrorist” too? This is of course Jeremy being funny not in his own home but in a national paper, do we want him locked away for up to 14 years? (on the other hand……).

Anyway HLS workers and shareholders when they socialise what do they have to say about us? Well we don’t have our own private police force with a blank cheque who can do 24 hour surveillance, use task forces of 700 bullies to smash down doors and drag our opposition off but we do have some stuff from the pro HLS triple iii bulletin board to share with you all, here are a small sample of quotes, note the misogyny:

From “terrified vomiting beagle”, “I wish someone would just slaughter these toerags”.

From “smirking rabbit”, “Perhaps myself and Bozz could spit roast her while the others punch her repeatedly in the face. By the time they’ve finished beating her, I’ll pull up my kecks and peak over her shoulder for any sign of improvement”.

From “Lord Dave” “elephant whore”

“it is easier to monitor any activist if they live near an Army base (don’t ask “why” it just is)”.

Now we have SHAC WATCH to continue from where triple iii left off and they like to publish the names and addresses of activists, even though on at least one occasion only the police had that address. Animal rights activists have published the names and addresses of vivisectors but then those responsible went to prison for it. What are the chances of those involved with SHAC WATCH being prosecuted?

With such an uneven playing field is it really any surprise that the law is broken and held in such contempt?

Not handing in petitions to the government

The Times accuse SHAC of not handing in petitions. Petitions have been handed in. What happens is that when a substantial amount of signatures are collected I think 250,000 were handed in at some stage probably a lot more(as opposed to the pro vivisection “people’s petition” being online with only 20,000 signatures) they are then handed in. I am not surprised that the police found lots of boxes of petitions, people queued to sign them and they would have been handed in to the government at an opportune moment. As the police have taken them all off somewhere it is rather difficult for anyone to hand them in!
Greg is the leader of the ALF.

No he is not. No one leads the ALF. The ALF is a banner under which activists willing to break the law but who do not wish to harm any living being operate. If you decide to liberate a dog from a farm where s/he is tethered you are an ALF activist (if you want to be and are at least vegetarian) for the duration of the action of mercy. The ALF has no membership, no leaders, no followers. Sorry NETCU but some people are able to operate without being given orders unlike police officers and journalists!

SHAC are trying to kill people.

This is from Will Self writing in the Sunday Times magazine. It is absolute crap. Now if SHAC really did try to kill people everyone should be laughing at the ineptitude of said activists, no dead bodies at all. SHAC have not even tried to threaten to kill ANYONE let alone actually done the deed.
Which leads us onto the subject of violence.

Michelle Rokke got a job at HLS New Jersey USA in 1996. She filmed a small primate being eviscerated whilst still conscious, log on to and watch as the knife slices into the sternum and the victim flinches in agony, this is obscene violence which not one of the HLS workers will ever face. Michelle met a primate called James an inquisitive little soul who she befriended, gradually instead of greeting her at the cage door he slunk down in absolute terror poisoned to death so that we can have yet another chemical cleaner to poison ourselves with. 500 animals are murdered at HLS every day as opposed to feeling a bit upset because someone has sent something yucky in the post, this is an atrocity.

“Ah but they are only animals” no doubt some of you will be saying as indeed was the reaction of our chum CPS sumpremo Alistair Nisbet who implied in his CPS press release that HLS only does medical research . We utterly renounce this. As animal rights activists we believe that we are all animals the name itself derives from the Greek meaning “being with a soul”. There is something called the theory of evolution, we all came from single cell organisms and developed into complex beings capable of thought, feelings, relationships and suffering. To actually believe that we are the pinnacle of evolution is pathetic look at Palestine and Israel, look at people trafficking, the use of torture and the death penalty by many states, the fact that the slave trade is still alive and well, the subjugation of women, the continued extermination of the very eco system on which we depend for our very existence and come back and tell me that our species is anything but a killer ape with delusions of grandeur whose numbers have reached plaque proportions! No doubt by now someone is dusting down the old humans only have rights because they have responsibility argument so just one question, what responsibilities did the mother of baby P have? Accepting that we just another animal may be our only chance of survival as we might then stop ourselves behaving like spoilt brats. A little humility would do us no harm at all.

Some may argue that God put us in charge and that we are somehow divine which I find odd for any scientist especially as we have made such a mess of things but many of us believe in God and Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Hindus and atheists have attended SHAC demos.
We also believe that HLS workers are animals like the rest of us therefore they have rights too which is why the violence they inflict on others has never been visited on them and never will be. I have talked quite a few HLS employees over the years and would not wish harm on any of them after all whilst doing a stall in Diss I was told by a man that his daughter worked at HLS and one day she secreted out a box full of rats, other employees (now EX employees) have shown great courage by exposing the cruelty inflicted at HLS. Many more have left the company not because of SHAC or the ALF but because they have found themselves sickened by the abuse. As in slaughterhouses those who cannot quickly kill off part of their soul and become desensitised leave traumatised by the experience and the turnover is great.

No doubt some people reading this only care about human beings and so I would like to tell you about “Belate” which is a pesticide sprayed on crops in the UK which caused 42 children to be born without eyes. It was made by DuPont a customer of HLS and if not actually tested at HLS would most probably have been tested at another contract testing laboratory Covance, Safepharm, Sequani, Wickham labs etc. HLS according to their own website are not diligently working through the night curing cancer they are paid to test things on animals which are then sold making a profit for their customers. This includes artificial sweeteners and additives, household cleaners, paint, industrial chemicals, agro chemicals genetically modified organisms, plastics, anything and everything that might come into contact with humans. Testing a pesticide on a few fish and mice does not however mean that because they did not keel over and die that it is safe to be sprayed all over the place for the next 50 years until the birth defects and increase in cancer rates are proven and it is banned with those responsible either dead or retired. HLS also test veterinary products on animals which involves inducing cystitis in dogs, dosing them, killing them and dissecting them and of course it involves getting maximum profit from factory farmed animals linking up with the meat industry. Dairy cows are deliberately infected with mastitis at HLS hardly life saving research especially as milk products are luxuries not necessities.

When it comes to violence even the Animal Rights Militia are but amateurs compared to HLS. In fact if we look right back from 1999 until now over 8 years I think that out of everything that has happened on both sides I win on suffering the worst violence inflicted as a result of the conflict and of all the media outlets there are only the Hunts Post reported on this in any real depth , no one is interested in reporting police/vivisector perpetuated violence and the omission has led to a rather skewed public perception of these matters. We blocked the A1 with tripods and a police officer broke my femur in several places and smashed up my face by dismantling it with me being 20 feet up in the air. I lost a litre of blood and could have died as a result of his assault. His colleagues did arrest him and eventually charge him with GBH but only did so because the assault was so public and caused such outrage. Their revenge was swift from the arrest and remand in custody of my companion, the raids which took place 2 weeks later, to the harassment and threats only stopped when my lawyer taught them some manners, I have already mentioned how one witness was persecuted. Many activists have been assaulted, unlawfully arrested, threatened, imprisoned, watched, spied on and terrorised. Many of us regard this as part of the price we pay for being activists but others who have never and would never do anything illegal and limit their activities to getting petitions signed and writing polite letters in a so-called democracy are subjected to utterly inappropriate levels of repression. I would urge anyone subjected to police bullying to make a huge fuss about it, believe you me they want people to be frightened of them but they do not like complaints (bad for promotion and figures) or being sued.

Finally a message to all activists even activists who do not believe that this in any way applies to them and are pro vivisection. This is a precedent, the CPS and the police and their overlords in the multinationals have discovered something which will silence anyone who runs any effective campaign against the crimes multinationals are so famous for e.g. selling weapons to despots, making torture equipment, backing genocidal regimes, poisoning the water, air and soil, experimenting on children in poorer countries, killing babies by misleading populations about formula milk and so forth. Some people will go to prison for much longer than if they had beaten someone half to death or raped a child, others will no doubt follow. Read Alistair’s press release at the following link, and think about how this methodology could be used against other campaigns the state wants to get rid of. All grass roots activists need to think about security arrangements and worst case scenarios very carefully. I would not even put it past the powers that be to go after the larger well established campaigning groups at some stage such as the Tory party (oh!.. they already have).

A huge part of our defence is not to give in to this repression, SHAC demos continue. Even if you do not agree with SHAC this is a matter of liberty so feel free to look deeper than the national press and ask some questions about proportionality and the increasing attack on civil liberties.

Interestingly the NETCU website is down for some sort of updating but we will respond when they put up what will no doubt be a big biased piece against SHAC.

Lynn Sawyer

Insufficient Evidence Of Intent

Three animal activists recently appeared at Chester Crown Court to appeal an earlier conviction under Section 4 of the public order Act 1986.

In October 2006 the group of activists were protesting at Storrar Vets Practice in Chester. Storrar Vets Practice are the vet’s for Little Creek Quarantine Kennels who quarantine imported animals destined to suffer and die in torture labs around the UK.

Police officers from Cheshire Constabulary were called to the protest and arrested three women who were showing a banner that said ‘This vet supports animal torture’.

All three women were charged and convicted of displaying a visible representation [a banner] which officers deemed to be “threatening, abusive or insulting thereby causing alarm, harassment or distress”.

The appeals were upheld and all three activists were acquitted.

Mr Recorder Wyn Lloyd Jones who was the judge during the appeal said there was insufficient evidence to satisfy terms of the Public Order Act 1986 and insufficient evidence of intent.

Business as Usual

Original article posted on Arkangel 14th May 2007

Despite the arrest and the remanding of the 3 leaders of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) last week campaigning by the group goes on unabated.

If Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) had hoped that the rounding up of 32 supporters of SHAC last week and the remanding in custody of three of its leaders Greg Avery, Natasha Avery and Heather Nicholson would somehow lessen the pressure being put on them by the group then the company’s managing director Brian Cass must be very disappointed that far from depleting the campaign against the company, protests seem to be increasing.

‘Business as Usual’ reads the headlines on the SHAC website and it would be difficult to argue against that when one looks at the demo reports on their website that seem to be taking place all over the world as activists the world over show their solidarity. Far from intimidating people into submission, which was presumably what the authorities had wanted, SHAC appear to be coming out fighting. As they say you can’t kill an ideal, and it’s something the authorities would do well to remember. It’s worth remembering that when Huntingdon Life Sciences broke the law, far from throwing Mr. Brian Cass in prison for not having any control of those that work for him; who lest it be forgot were secretly filmed punching beagle puppies, throwing them against the wall and screaming abuse at them, the government bank rolled the company, preventing it from going into receivership. Harsh punishment indeed for the criminals working at HLS.

Not that abusing animals was the only crime that HLS workers were responsible for. The film not only highlighted workers abusing animals it also showed workers falsifying data by not administering the drugs they were suppose to be testing on animals in order to safeguard the humans that may be prescribed those drugs. Of course there’s two ways of looking at it: either the workers know that testing on animals does not safeguard human health, so why bother – and as the film showed full syringes meant to be injected into the beagles were discarded in the trash can, or the workers just couldn’t care less if people died because of their total contempt for life, both human and non human. Whichever way you look at it, HLS doesn’t come out smelling of roses. But of course we must remember the line the government and the vivisection industry take when trying to court public opinion: vivisectors are only going about their lawful business. Well if that’s the law, no wonder most people have lost faith in the British legal system, a system that punishes those that care whilst protecting big business and those that only care about profits, such as companies like HLS.

Operation Achilles was the result of a two-year investigation and involved 700 police, culminating in 32 raids, and has so far led to charges against nine people for conspiracy to blackmail and against a further two for blackmail. One has to ask oneself: since when has protesting been illegal? Unfortunately under the present Labour government we have seen our democratic rights eroded. Never before in modern times has a single government been responsible for introducing so many different laws in such a short space of time. Somewhere in the region of 3500 new laws have been put onto the statute books since Labour came into power in 1997.

It’s up to everyone to fight oppression in whatever form it may take. Some people might not agree with the rights of animals. They might not even agree with how SHAC conduct themselves, but that’s not the issue here. What is the issue is the right to speak out against something we object to; as Voltaire once wrote: ‘I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it’.

It will be interesting to see exactly what evidence the police have against SHAC, but at Arkangel we very much doubt it will amount to a smoking gun, despite the spin the police are bound to put on it, and let’s not forgot that the whole reason for the existence of ‘The National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit’ (NECTU), who were undoubtedly behind the raids, is because of the supposed threat from animal rights extremists. If that threat didn’t exist or wasn’t talked up, then there would be quite a few people looking for a job. It’s an important point to remember.

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 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.

HLS continue to lose their grip

From Arkangel
Huntingdon Life Sciences last week failed to seize the assets of a high profile activist recently imprisoned for serious criminal activity and were instead made liable for his costs in defending the proceedings.

In this article we ask why the national media totally ignored this story, choosing to focus instead on a non-story about animal rights stalls in London.

Media headlines on Wednesday last week were dominated by the story that the police in London are cracking down on illegal animal rights stalls and street collections. The usual journalists from the Times and Guardian dutifully publicised the police propaganda that the stalls were being used to finance criminal activity and that they were worth approximately £80,000 per year to the activists. The intended message was that the police had taken effective steps to cut off a substantial source of income to animal rights protestors.

The more discerning reader may have noticed that the story did not actually constitute news. There had been no recent arrests or searches and no-one had recently been before the court. So why then was the story being released at this particular time? The answer is that it was almost certainly designed to coincide with the expected news that the animal testing company Huntingdon Life Sciences had successfully seized the house of a prominent activist Donald Currie, making his wife and three children homeless in the process. The story goes like this.

In March 2006, Currie was arrested on suspicion of arson and possessing explosives. He was subsequently remanded in custody. The offences were alleged to have been carried out in relation to suppliers of Huntingdon Life Sciences. Shortly after his arrest, Huntingdon Life Sciences’ lawyers Lawson-Cruttenden and Co applied for and obtained an interim charging Order on his house. This was because he had been named as a defendant in the proceedings between Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) in April 2003. Currie did not file an individual defence and in April 2004 HLS applied for and obtained a default judgment against him and a number of other defendants who had also not filed a defence. Each of the “defaulting” defendants was ordered to pay costs of approximately £200,000. The principle of “joint and several liability” meant that HLS could go after any of the individual defaulting defendants for the entire sum.

After April 2004 interest accrued on the costs at a rate of £50 per day and by March 2006 the costs Order was worth £220k. HLS realised that with Currie in a maximum security prison and facing serious charges this might be a good time to try and enforce the costs order against him and to make an example of him. One way of enforcing a costs order is to obtain a “charging order” on the debtor’s house for the amount of money owed. Once a charge has been obtained, an application can be made to force sale of the property. This is what they intended to do with Currie’s house.

In August last year HLS duly obtained a final charging Order on Currie’s house meaning that they would be able to apply to force sale. However Currie had managed to instruct lawyers by this stage, who had placed evidence before the court that HLS had brought the case against Currie improperly. They never actually served him at his home address, choosing instead to serve him at SHAC’s Boat Lane address. His defence was that he never actually knew that he was a named defendant and that the claimants had taken no steps to serve him at his home address. Furthermore the claimants knew his ordinary residential address prior to bringing proceedings and they should have served him there.

HLS did get a final charging order at the August hearing but were told that they could not enforce it until November. They were also ordered to provide a statement specifying when they first became aware of Currie’s address. One of the claimants’ solicitors named Rizwan Majid duly filed a statement saying that they first became aware of his address in April 2006. Mr. Majid also stated that the Claimants were not aware of Currie’s significance as an activist until his arrest in March 2006.

Here’s where it gets interesting. After receiving Majid’s statement Currie’s lawyers obtained evidence, proving not only that Majid’s statement was inaccurate but that Majid was fully aware of this. His statement appeared to be a deliberate attempt to mislead the court. The evidence obtained by the Defendants was as follows;

• HLS had been subscribing to a media service since the inception of the SHAC campaign. This included press reports detailing Currie’s address which had been in their possession some 18 months prior to bringing proceedings.

• Before HLS brought proceedings against Currie, the police had disclosed to them a huge volume of SHAC material which had been seized during the course of criminal proceedings against other individuals in 2000. This included an address book containing Currie’s name and address.

• In April 2004 before HLS obtained the costs Order against Currie, they were in possession of a certificate of conviction, which contained his full name and address. Despite this fact they took no steps to inform him about the application for judgment in default.

• In February 2003 HLS’s solicitor Tim Lawson-Cruttenden wrote to the Cambridgeshire police asking for the names and addresses of all SHAC supporters and all persons convicted of offences at HLS’s premises. The police had obviously corresponded at length with HLS after that letter was written, but their reply to Lawson-Cruttenden’s letter had never been disclosed.

• In April 2005 Majid himself filed a witness statement identifying Currie as one of the main SHAC activists. This was totally at odds with his later statement that Currie was not regarded as significant until March 2006.

In January this year Currie applied for an Order that the default judgment and costs order against him be set aside, on the grounds that HLS had not complied with the civil procedure rules on service. HLS clearly already knew his address prior to bringing proceedings against him, and they should have attempted service at that address first before serving him at the SHAC address. Currie also applied for disclosure of all communications between HLS and the police prior to commencing proceedings against him. Clearly there had been a lot of correspondence between HLS and the police and this might contain yet more evidence that they had known about his address all along. At the same time as Currie made his application, HLS applied for an Order of Sale of his house.

Currie’s application was listed on 7th February this year just two days before HLS’s application to force sale of his house. HLS’s case quickly collapsed at the hearing with their lawyer Lawson-Cruttenden forced to concede to the judge that they already had Currie’s address before they brought the claim against him. As a result of this concession the judge indicated that the costs order against Currie would probably be set aside.

The hearing to decide on whether Currie’s house should be sold was vacated. Two weeks later, on Tuesday 20th February, the judge handed down his judgment. He ordered that the default judgment and costs order against Currie be set aside, meaning that he was no longer a Defendant to the proceedings and that HLS would not be able to force a sale of his property. The judge also ordered HLS to pay Currie’s costs for his applications to set aside and for disclosure.

This was a monumental defeat for HLS, who had been desperately hoping to make a high profile example of Currie in the media. Had they been successful, the forced sale of his house would have made big news in the national media and would have been covered in particular by journalists such as Nicola Woolcock of The Times and Sandra Laville of the Guardian who have been following this story with interest. Their silence on HLS’ failure whilst at the same time covering the non-story about seizure of animal rights stalls is a scandal, and marks them out as none other than propagandists for the pro animal research lobby.

The police in London released their story about seizure of animal rights stalls the day after judgment was handed down in Don’s case. The only obvious explanation for the timing is that they had originally designed to release their story about stalls at the same time as the news that HLS forced the sale of a prominent activists’ house.

This is now the third time that HLS have tried and failed to seize houses belonging to SHAC activists and for the third time the story has received zero coverage in the national media. A key function of propaganda is the deliberate omission of information which does not support the propagandist’s point of view. This was demonstrated no more clearly than by the deliberate omission in the national media last week of HLS’ failed attempt once again to seize their opponents’ assets.