Yesterday I was on trial at Hammersmith Magistrate’s Court, answering a charge of obstructing the highway during an anti-MGM protest in Parliament Square in June. The video is here, the relevant sequences are 6:30 – 7:54, 8:15 – 9:25, 13:31 – 13:38, a total of 161 seconds.
Firstly I should like to thank the six supporters who turned up and witnessed the trial, their presence meant a lot to me. I should particularly like to thank Ian for his legal advice in the months before the trial, and for sitting with me as a ‘McKenzie friend’ during it, providing advice as the trial progressed.
I represented myself, Legal Aid is not available for such cases. The judge was a woman, and was friendly throughout the proceedings. She watched our YouTube video of the matter twice. The CCTV footage provided by the prosecution was hopeless.
Our key objective yesterday was to test the ‘legal excuse’ defence, with a view to possibly using it in relation to future civil disobedience actions. In my defence, I read out a statement.
The judge rejected the ‘legal excuse’ defence, and I’ll be posting a transcript of her lengthy judgement when it’s made available to us, hopefully shortly. We do not believe she gave adequate weight to the minimal disruption caused by my actions, when compared with major protests which can block roads for hours, and no arrests (or few) are made.
We shall be appealing , and a retrial will take place at Isleworth Crown Court at some point in the next 3-6 months. The trial, in common with yesterday’s, will not include a jury. I hope that one day this matter will be tried in the presence of a jury.
I was fined £80, and I also have to pay £250 of the £680 prosecution costs, along with a £30 victim surcharge, a total of £360. In the light of my financial circumstances, the judge agreed I could pay £25 monthly. I was delighted after the trial when Richie gave me £30 for the first monthly payment, and said, ‘use the balance for a pint of beer’. In the afternoon Jordan sent £50 by PayPal for the second and third months. I thank them both warmly, and I shall pay the balance out of my own funds, not party funds. So far my life of crime has been cashflow positive.
We shall continue pursuing legal options for as long as possible. We can win this battle and we shall win it.
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