Five activists who caused £180,000 damage to an arms factory were acquitted after they argued they were seeking to prevent Israeli war crimes.
The five were jubilant after a jury found them not guilty of conspiring to cause
criminal damage to the factory on the outskirts of Brighton. The five admitted they had broken in and sabotaged the factory, but argued they were legally justified in doing so.
They believed that EDO MBM, the firm that owns the factory, was breaking export regulations by manufacturing and selling to the Israelis military equipment which would be used in the occupied territories. They wanted to slow down the manufacture of these components, and impede what they believed were war crimes being committed by Israel against the Palestinians. ...They are the latest group of peace and climate-change activists to successfully use the "lawful excuse" defence – committing an offence to prevent a more serious crime – as a tactic in their campaigns...They had decided to act last January after three weeks of Israeli military manoeuvres against Gaza in which many Palestinians were killed. According to a UN investigation by former South African judge Richard Goldstone, Israel committed war crimes by deliberately attacking civilians during the offensive known as Operation Cast Lead.
In his summing up, 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 judge highlighted the testimony by Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, that "all democratic paths had been exhausted" before the activists embarked on their action.
Hove crown court heard the activists had broken into the factory in the night. They had video-taped interviews beforehand outlining their intention to cause damage and, in the words of prosecutor Stephen Shay, "smash-up" the factory.
Actually, I think Judge Bathurst-Norman's courtroom is a bit of hell on earth.
The witnessess lied in his courtroom and he bolstered their mendacity.
Oddly enough, he has been quoted as warning:
that Britain risks falling into anarchy or becoming a police state if confidence in the judiciary is lost. He said that political decisions...had tied judges' hands and led to "silly" sentences.
..."The trouble is, if you go on for political reasons undermining the public's faith in the judiciary, sooner or later you are heading for anarchy and... in due course for the equivalent of a police state."
I wonder, is the judge a "Palestinian"?
And Judge George Bathurst-Norman, who has previously had a record as quite a law’n’order judge, gave a summing up so favourable that some supporters were worried that the jury might react to what they perceived as an attempt to bounce them into a not guilty verdict. We need not have worried! Perhaps the fact that His Honour was born in the Arab town of Jaffa opposite Tel Aviv might have something to do with it! Judge George Bathurst-Norman was brought out of retirement to hear the case.