Animal rights activists acquitted of campaign of stalking causing serious alarm or distress

Thursday 14 March 2024

Tom Wainwright and Owen Greenhall of the Garden Court Protest Rights Team represented the defendants, instructed by Jane Cleasby of Kellys Solicitors.

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Tom Wainwright and Owen Greenhall represented two animal rights protestors who had campaigned against the vivisection industry and the treatment of beagles bred for use in animal testing. Following a five-week trial at Cambridge Crown Court, both were unanimously found not guilty of 'Stalking Causing Serious Alarm or Distress' and 'Interfering with Contractual Relations so as to Harm an Animal Research Organisation'.

The defendants were protesting in relation to the use and treatment of beagles bred at Marshall Bio Resources Acres (MBR) in Cambridgeshire and their transportation to various animal testing facilities around the United Kingdom by Impex Services International. In addition, the defendants were investigating the commission of animal cruelty offences within the industry, by way of tracking devices on vehicles and covert surveillance.

Following an undercover operation by Cambridgeshire police, the defendants were arrested and charged with offences contrary to s.4A of the Protection of Harassment Act 1997 and s.145 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, on the basis that their actions amounted to harassment which had caused serious alarm or distress to the owner of Impex, and were intended to cause him to breach his contract with MBR.

After a lengthy trial, involving detailed analysis of cellsite data and electronic devices, as well as novel and complex legal arguments, the jury unanimously acquitted both defendants of all counts.

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