Jury acquits Palestine Action activists on defences of Necessity and Protection of Property

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Owen Greenhall of Garden Court Chambers and Mira Hammad of Garden Court North Chambers represented the defendants, instructed by Lydia Dagostino of Kellys Solicitors.

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Owen Greenhall acted for the lead defendant in a trial for alleged criminal damage arising out of a six-day rooftop occupation of a factory manufacturing drones. The defendants argued that their actions were justified on the basis of necessity, in order to save the lives of Palestinians, and in order to protect property at immediate risk of drone bombardment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

The factory was part-owned by Elbit UK, a subsidiary of Israel’s largest arms company. The Defendants believed that the factory made drones that were to be exported to Israel for use in the OPT. The defendants argued that, on the facts as they believed them to be, the activity of the factory amounted to a war crime and that their actions were necessary and proportionate to stop loss of life and to protect property.

The Crown instructed a leading silk and argued that no defences arose on the facts of the case.

Following extensive legal argument over several days on the scope of defences, the trial Judge directed the jury to consider the common law defence of Necessity and the statutory defence of Protection of Property under Section 5(2)(b) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971. The defendants were both acquitted.

Audrey Cherryl Mogan of Garden Court Chambers was also instructed during the initial legal argument in the case.

The case has been widely reported in the press. See coverage: BBC NewsMiddle East Monitor, Leicester Mercury

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