[Imc-uk-features] SOCPA feature - parliament sq peace camp court cases
vg at genny.force9.co.uk
Mon May 28 00:07:31 PDT 2007
I'm working on this feature about court cases from last October's No
More Fallujahs peace camp in Parliament Sq and associated actions.
It's not quite finished yet, because I'm still missing info about at
least one of the defendants, and want to add a bit more about the
various charges, but thought I'd post it for comments now. Hope it'll
be ready to go up Tues or Wed.
Does anyone have time to show me how to get it ready and post it? Live
help via irc would be good at the point it's ready to go up. I've been
avoiding admin but it's about time I learned how. :o)
I guess I have to add some html for paras, italics etc. which I should
be able to manage, and I know I have to change the indymedia links to
relative ones first. Anything else?
Parliament Square Peace Campers in Court
Picture from the Peace Camp or Naming the Dead action
[this one? http://www.indymedia.org.uk/images/2006/10/354680.jpg]
At least 12 activists have now been charged under *SOCPA* [link:
in connection with the *No More Fallujahs* [link:
http://www.rememberfallujah.org/] Peace Camp and Naming the Dead actions
in Parliament Square and Whitehall on 29-30 October 2006. *Report*
[link to feature: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/11/355049.html].
In a *planned act of civil disobedience* [link:
http://www.rememberfallujah.org/letter.htm] against the occupation of
Iraq, dozens of campaigners set up an unauthorised camp in Parliament
Square for 24 hours last October. In all, over 100 people took part in
workshops and discussions and held 'Naming the Dead' remembrance
ceremonies in Parliament Square and Whitehall during the action.
Over the 24 hours of No More Fallujahs, some participants were
'reported' under SOCPA, while others were arrested and released. No-one
was charged at the time, but in November Milan Rai and Maya Evans were
charged with 'organising' and 'taking part in' an 'unauthorised
demonstration', with the others receiving summonses for 'taking part' at
the beginning of May, more than six months after the demonstration.
Most of the defendants have been in court over the past two weeks, with
the judgements to date illustrating the arbitrary nature of British
On 18 May, at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court, Milan Rai and Maya
Evans, both of whom have previous SOCPA convictions [link:
[link: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/04/338174.html], received no
fine and no costs when convicted of participating in an unauthorised
demonstration within the designated area around Parliament - Section
132(1)(b) of SOCPA - [*report*], while less than a week later, on 23
May, Gabriel Carlyle and Jan Smith were each fined £100 plus £60 costs
in the same court for the same offence even though they have no previous
Milan and Maya were also found guilty on 18 May of organising the
demonstration - Section 132(1)(a) - an offence which can result in a
custodial sentence, and for this they were fined just £100 each with no
costs. To put this in context, Milan was fined £350 with £150 costs
when, in April 2006, he became the first person to be convicted under
SOCPA for organising an unauthorised demonstration. Other organisers of
the Peace Camp were not charged at all, although several openly admitted
their organising roles in a letter to the press [link:
http://tinyurl.com/yw2ksf]. In fact, the 'organising' charge against
Milan and Maya had been dropped at an earlier court hearing, but in an
administrative cock-up the magistrate on May 18 was unaware of this, and
the defendants decided to allow the case to go ahead rather than adjourn
again to allow clarification to be sought.
A number of other defendants had their cases listed for 23 May along
with Gabriel Carlyle and Jan Smith. Their cases were adjourned and all
will be heard at later dates.
Martin Newell, *recently imprisoned* [link:
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/05/369432.html] for refusing to pay
a fine in connection with another peaceful protest, had his case
adjourned to 10am on Tuesday 12 June, while the date for David King's
case will be set at a hearing next month.
Steve Barnes, Brian Barlow and Robin Clohesy successfully arranged with
the court for their cases to be joined. After reading through the
prosecution's evidence, they decided that they did not need their
arresting/reporting officers present at the trial, which has been
listed for 10am on Friday 14 September.
Two other defendants, Genny Bove and Adam Twine, wrote to the court
rather than appearing in person. Their cases have also been adjourned,
with Genny's case provisionally linked to the other 14 September cases,
subject to her having sight of the prosecution evidence and not
requiring the reporting officer present. At the time of writing, the
new date for Adam's trial is not known.
None of the defendants received bail conditions.
All defendants would welcome support in court, especially Martin, whose
case is being heard individually on 12 June. Any changes to court dates
or new dates that we become aware of will be posted here.
All cases are to be heard at *Horseferry Road Magistrates Court* [link:
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