Saturday, 3 July 2010

Anti-war protestors acquitted

Great news: Nine anti-war activists have been acquitted of conspiracy to damage the Moulescoomb-based EDO/MBM arms factory after a three week trial at Hove Crown Court.

The judge agreed with the defendants that the £200,000 damage they caused to the EDO/MBM weapons component factory in Moulescoomb was committed in attempt to halt production of weapons being exported illegally.

And as such exports would have meant components from the factory would be likely to have been used by the Israeli army to attack - and even kill - civilians in Gaza, the defendants' actions were entirely justified as an attempt to stop a much larger crime taking place.

The ruling comes on the backof similar judgments in cases relating to damage to UK-made fighter jets being exported to Indonesia - and raises the question of whether the factory'ss days in Brighton are now numbered.

If the courts now accept that components made at the factory seem to be destined for illegal export for use against civilians in an illegal war, perhaps it's time to prosecute those responsible for that instead.

Meanwhile, I hope that Sussex Police and Crown Prosecution Service do some real soul-searching about their reasons for pursuing this case - which many had predicted could only really result in acquittal at the cost of thousands of taxpayers' cash - in the first place.

The case was, after all,  pursued at great expense to the public purse, at a time when police budgets are being cut across the board.

All the money wasted on this could have been used to try to defend the neighbourhood policing style which is working well in Brighton and reducing both crime and the fear of crime - if the Tory cuts being imposed from  on high aren't going to mean job losses, fewer police and an increase in crime, we're going to need every penny we can get.

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