ACTIVIST REMANDED FOR INJUNCTION 'BREACH'
Today Brighton Magistrates remanded
peace activist Paul Lesniowski for allegedly breaching the controversial
injunction imposed by Brighton arms dealers EDO MBM. This-is the
first-time that a political activist has been remanded under section
3 of the Protection from Harassment Act.
Paul was arrested yesterday (15/06)
at 4:30pm, for filming the director of Guardian security (employed
by EDO MBM to enforce the injunction). The director, accompanied
by his own cameraman had crossed the road to confront protestors.
Both men refused to identify themselves when asked.
Despite the District Judge hearing
that Paul was of good character with no previous convictions she
decided to remand-him. A packed public gallery was visibly shocked
by the decision. Sussex Police maintained a heavy presence in
Paul is not named on the injunction,
and at the regular demonstration on Wednesday when he was arrested
he was not even protesting, but acting as a legal observer in
a marked yellow jacket. Despite the District judge declaring that
she did have jurisdiction to deal with the alleged breach, Paul
asked for his case to be heard in the Crown Court before a jury.
Andrew Beckett, press spokesman
for the campaign said “It is disgusting that a committed
peace activist finds himself in prison for an alleged minor breach
of this draconian injunction. Sussex Police have taken it upon
themselves to enforce an exclusion zone by whatever means necessary”.
Supporters will demonstrate outside
Lewes prison today at 4:30pm.
Paul is due to appear in court
again on June 23rd.
Notes for Journalists
Brighton & Hove
is a UN Peace Messenger City
The injunction referred to was served under the
1997 Protection from Harassment Act (originally designed to protect
women from stalkers) and is the first of its kind directed at
activists outside of the animal rights movement. Crucially it
is a civil injunction but carries criminal penalties. It affects
anyone deemed to be a protestor. Initially EDO/MBM requested a
large "exclusion zone" comprising the whole of Home
Farm Industrial Estate.
They and Sussex police also wanted
to limit demonstrations to two and a half hours, with less thanten
people who had to be silent. Judge Gross refusedto impose these
conditions at the initial hearing of an interim injunction, which
was put in place in the period before the full trial to be heard
at the High court in London from November 21st. In his summing
up he said, "The right to freedom of _expression is jealously
guarded in English law" and consequently refused to impose
the requested limits on size, timing or noise made at demonstrations.
He also said that he doubted that protesters were 'stalking' employees
of EDO MBM.
EDO MBM Technologies Ltd are the sole UK subsidiary
of huge U.S arms conglomerate EDO Corp, which was recently named
No. 10 in the Forbes list of 100 fastest growing companies. They
supply bomb release mechanisms to the US and UK armed forces amongstothers.
They supply crucial components for Raytheon's Paveway guided bomb
system, widely used in the "Shock and Awe" campaign
EDO also withdrew a threatened libel action against Indymedia
over being named as "warmongers".
Lawson-Cruttenden & Co
Solicitors firm working for EDO have been instrumental in developing
the Protection of Harassment Act 1997 from a measure designed
to safeguard individuals to a corporate charter to make inconvenient
protest illegal. Theyhave pioneered to use of injunctions to create
large "exclusion zones". They have secured numerous
injunctions against anti-vivisection and anti-GM protestors.
Campaign against EDO MBM
People involved in the anti-EDO campaign include, but are not
limited to: local residents, the Brighton Quakers, peace activists,
anti-capitalists, Palestine Solidarity groups, human rights groups,
trade unionists, academics and students. The campaign started
in August 2004 with a peace camp. It's avowed aim is to expose
EDO MBM and their complicity in war crimes and to remove them
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