Police – tools and first line of defence of our criminal government
Police turn a blind eye to a whole range of crime if it suits their policies whilst picking on elements of the community and harrass and intimidate them if that’s their brief. Law has no role to play in this arrangement.
Anyone in society who protests or acts against any government policy or practice, even when the practice is illegal, can be sure of being a target for attention from the police & other government agencies. Given that police will target protesters who do anything other than stand in an imaginary cage they might be directed to, or walk along a pavement carrying a flag – as long as the flag isn’t likely to offend anyone and permission has been granted, it really is a waste of time having any expectations of the police in terms of justice, honesty or integrity……it’s best to just ignore them whenever and wherever possible and save your legal arguments for the courts where it is a little more difficult for magistrates or judges to ignore the law as blatantly as the police do.
If intending to commit an act that is likely to result in a prosecution, it’s a good idea to research at least a little bit of law before you begin, or discuss legal defences for various actions with someone who has some experience in and knowledge of the law. Unless you have some working knowledge of the law and represent yourself in court, or you obtain the services of a solicitor who has a record of making the effort to defend a defendent properly (instead of trying to navigate your case through the court system without making any waves which is what they usually do), things could go badly for you.
Looking at past prosecutions of activists is one of the best ways to learn something about the law and takes much of the initial grind out of trawling through the laws themselves.
Oxford peace activists Philip Pritchard and Toby Olditch entered RAF Fairford and attempted to disarm USAF B-52 bombers early on 18th March 2003. Their decision to take this peaceful direct action was a response to absolute frustration; that all previous international pressure and efforts to prevent the prosecution of an illegal and unjustified war had come to nothing.
After an arduous 4 year journey through the courts which included being held in jail on remand, a High Court appeal over a question of evidence, a hearing in the House of Lords, a trial and a retrial, Phil and Toby were eventually unanimously declared not guilty by a jury at Bristol Crown Court in May 2007.
Their statment made before the attempt to disarm the USAF’s B52s involved in the unmitigated slaughter of the innocent population of Iraq is one of the best examples of a defence statement you will find:
The Legal & Moral Case for Fairford Disarmament
Trident Ploughshares’ website is a great resource for legal argument and defence case statements:
TRIDENT PLOUGHSHARE’S LEGAL DOCUMENTS
A range of really useful pdf publications for activists covering the subjects;