12 June 2023

Defend the Right to Protest & Defend the Right to a Fair Trial Public Meeting

From 1670 Onwards Juries Had the Right to Decide Cases According to their Own Conscience & Conviction – That is What is Now at Stake in the decision of the Court of Appeal in Colston

The right to acquit on conscience

As people may know, together with 3 others, I was convicted recently at Wolverhampton Crown Court of the heinous offence of ‘intending without lawful excuse to destroy or damage property belonging to UAV Engines Ltd.’ which is owned by Elbit Systems Ltd, the Israeli arms company.

The British state and its Judiciary, have always put a higher premium on the protection of property than the protection of people from that property, in the case of arms factories. Likewise those who pour effluent into the rivers and pollute the seas around us are immune from criminal prosecution unlike those who protest against the pollution.

As capitalism lurches from economic to environmental crisis, it lashes out like a wild animal. We see that in the nuclear poker game that is being played out in Ukraine as NATO wages a proxy war against Russia.

At home the Tory government, riddled with corruption and nepotism, of which Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list is only the latest example, passes repeated legislation – the Police, Crime & Sentencing Act, the Spycops (Covert Human Intelligence) Act, the Anti-Strikes (Minimum Services Levels) Bill, and now the Public Order Act 2023 curtailing our liberties and giving state immunity to its operatives as they bug, abuse, murder and torture.

The POA allows police to pre-emptively arrest demonstrators is a new low but nothing is too low for the supine Labour ‘Opposition’ under Starmer, the Zionist without qualification. Labour MPs were ordered to abstain on the 3rd reading and Starmer has promised to allow the Act to ‘bed in’.

Meanwhile the Judiciary, after a relatively liberal spell under Lady Hale and before her Lord Neuberger, as President of the Supreme Court, has reverted to type as the enemy of civil liberties. Epitomising this is the Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett.


Contempt For Justice

The political establishment – from Cruella Colston Starmer, Braverman to Keir Starmer – reacted with horror at the decision of a Bristol jury to acquit the 4 demonstrators who rolled mass murderer and slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol harbour. Braverman’s reaction was to be expected but it spoke volumes about Starmer’s taking the knee during the Black Lives Matter ‘moment’ as he called it. Racism and Starmer go together like Tom and Jerry.

The Colston verdict or rather the judge’s directions that the defence could employ human rights defences in a case involving criminal damages was overturned at the end of last year by the Court of Appeal in a referral from Braverman in Attorney General’s Reference No. 1 2022.

According to Judge Chambers Rosa Parks was wrong to break the segregation laws in the Deep South of America

Here is how Henry Hill of Conservative Home saw it:

It was easily missed,… but the Court of Appeal yesterday afforded an important victory to Suella Braverman.

As Attorney General, she asked it to review the judgement in the ‘Colston Four’ trial, which saw four vandals acquitted on the grounds that tearing down a public artwork was protected under human rights legislation. 

Hill is quite right. The Court of Appeal under Sir Ian Burnett, the Lord Chief Justice, ‘afforded an important victory to Suella Braverman.’

The decision negated the decision of the Supreme Court in Ziegler that obstruction of the road was protected by the European Convention of Human Rights.

In our case under Judge Michael Chambers KC, all defences of ‘lawful excuse’ were ruled out, despite the factory we targeted manufacturing engines for drones which kill civilians.

The tortured ‘logic’ of Chambers and Debbie ‘ghoul’ Gould, the Prosecutor, was that it was necessary to identify which engine goes into which drone and which child it has murdered It is not enough to show that Elbit drones comprise 85% of Israeli drones nor that they manufacture 80% of Israel’s ammunition.

Acts ancillary to war crimes committed in other countries are treated as committed in this country under Section 52 of the International Criminal Court Act 2001. But Judges have effectively rewritten the law to grant immunity to those who profit by the death of others.

Judge Chambers is very hot on drug dealers who convey their wares down Britain’s motorways yet their crimes pale into insignificance compared to the death and destruction of Elbi.

The twisted and artificial ‘logic’ of the judiciary is that drones manufactured in Britain is ‘too remote’ from the war crimes they inflict to be prosecuted. This is a racist rationale for the crimes of British imperialism and its Israeli allies.

No such principle was espoused in the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials and the prosecution of IG Farben which manufactured Zyklon B, hydrogen cyanide, which was used to exterminate millions of people. No doubt if today’s judges had participated in the Nuremberg war crimes trials they would have argued that it was necessary to link each crystal of Zyklon B with each person who was gassed.

The reality is that whenever democratic rights and freedoms have been under attack – whether it be the Taff Vale Judgment which overturned trade union protections for the right to strike, or the attacks on the Suffragettes or the Official Secrets prosecution of Clive Ponting – judges have always been the nodding dogs of a reactionary Tory Establishment.

With at least 3 Insulate Britain activists have been gaoled for contempt of court for having the gall to explain to the jury why they had taken the action they did, we are seeing judges like Silas Reid and others in the forefront of the attack on civil liberties.

Whilst rogues like Boris Johnson and Lady Mone have immunity from prosecution over the Jennifer Arcuri and COVID frauds, because the Met Police refuse to investigate the crimes of fraud and embezzlement that have marked the Covid contracts, those of us who take direct action against the participation of Elbit in war crimes are prosecuted with the full force of the law.

That is why tomorrow there will be a Right to Protest meeting in Brighton at the BMECP Centre, 10 Fleet Street Brighton.

There will also be a Zoom meeting on Saturday 24 June with a host of speakers including Huda Ammori from Palestine Action, Tim Crosland, Deepa Driver from the Defend Julian Assange campaign and Tony Greenstein, one of 4 convicted Defendants.

To register for the meeting click here

The deportation of Julian Assange looms ever closer after the decision of a single High Court judge last week to reject his attempt to stop his extradition to the United States for the ‘crime’ of having exposed US war crimes in Iraq and elsewhere. The hypocrisy of British judges who deliberately turn a blind eye to the war crimes of the US and British governments is nothing new. The millions who died under the British Empire did so under the knowing gaze of Britain’s judges.

As always when confronted with challenges to state authority the judicial system seeks to criminalise political protesters. In 1912 the Prosecuting barrister in the trial of Emmeline Pankhurst said that:

Suffrage is not the issue, it is the criminal behaviour of the suffragettes and their incitement to partake in militant activity at which 54 windows were broken

None of this is new. All challenges to the British state are met with attempts to criminalise the protesters. But in ruling out all defences of lawful excuse and in particular gaoling protesters for explaining their motives to juries, there is an arguable case under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights:which states:

In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

How can a trial be fair when the Defendant can’t explain his/her motives to the jury? Craig Murray described how

The current legal establishment will adapt themselves to the legal framework of whatever sort is ordained by the rulers. Anybody expecting judges to defend liberties is likely to be sorely disappointed. They will happily remove the ability of juries to defend liberty too.

And to cap it all, despite what Judge Michael Chambers said viz. that:

“It’s a serious contempt to invite jurors to return outcomes which are not in accordance with the facts, but in accordance with their conscience.

The fact is that this is the common law of Britain as evidenced by the plaque to Edward Bushells on the Old Bailey.

Tony Greenstein

1 comment:

  1. In cases such as those concerning attempts to close down Israeli weapons factories, even if defendants plead guilty to causing damage or upset, should what they have done be considered a CRIME? The obvious answer is NO, otherwise police could be found guilty of breaking down doors etc., when in persuit of criminals, if they are not allowed to present their reasons to a judge or jury. Judges who threaten defendants and their advocates with contempt of court if they attempt to inform a jury of their motives, should themselves be charged with contempt of court. Some judges are so arrogant that they believe they are the supreme authority in a court, when in fact under British law, the final say is given to the jury to decide guilt or innocence. They can only do that once they have heard ALL the evidence.


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