Garden Court crime team secures acquittals for anti-war crimes activists

Friday 2 July 2010

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A team of Garden Court barristers has successfully defended eight activists at Hove Crown Court, who broke into an arms factory and caused £180,000 worth of damage. The defendants had been facing charges of conspiracy to commit criminal damage. Dexter Dias QC and Henry Blaxland QC led the defence team, deploying the defences of lawful excuse, prevention of crime and necessity. Other Garden Court barristers involved were Allison Bailey, Shiraz Aziz and Brenda Campbell.

The team alleged that the company in Brighton (EDO/MBM) had been illegally equipping the Israeli Air Force with vital Arming Units for its F-16 jet fighters. While the group admitted the break-in and damage, they argued that they were legally justified in doing so as the factory was supplying these components to the Israeli military. They argued that by doing so they would be helping to impede war crimes being committed by the Israelis, who at that time were engaged in a prolonged offensive in the occupied Gaza Strip in which over a thousand Palestinian civilians were killed and injured.

Judge George Bathurst-Norman suggested to the jury that "you may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that time". The jury returned Not Guilty verdicts in respect of all the defendants.

Read the full story in The Guardian.

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