Fortnum and Mason 145 Campaign
FORTNUM AND MASON ‘SPARTACUS’ PROTESTORS DUE IN COURT
1300: City of Westminster Magistrates Court,NW1 5HB
At 2pm on Monday, Westminster Magistrates court will hear an unprecedented case involving 21 ukuncut activists who have asked to be taken to court, taking a popular cultural reference in declaring themselves as ‘Spartacus’ in the process .
This follows on from the sit-in protest at the luxury Fortnum and Mason store in March of this year, in which the police controversially arrested 145 protestors for ‘aggravated trespass’ and held them for 24 hours in a police cell .
However, in July this year, the protesters received a letter from the CPS stating that they would only be continuing to prosecute 30 individuals, and would be ‘discontinuing’ the cases against 109 protesters .
However, shortly afterwards, the 21 activists in question used their right to ‘revive’ a criminal prosecution by sending a letter back to the CPS asking to be re-trialled in solidarity with those 30 protesters still face prosecution .
The 21 risk a maximum sentence of 3 months in prison and a maximum fine of £1,500 if prosecuted and found guilty.
Thomas Pursey said “I’m sparticus! The attempted prosecution of 30 individuals for simply sitting in a shop protesting about unncessary cuts and disgusting tax avoidance by the rich is a farse! I’m standing up and saying the CPS should drop all charges!”
Robert Johnstone, one of those who was arrested at Fortnum and Masons said “It is clear that we were all arrested in an attempt to scare people from protesting, and the police have already admitted that arrests were made for ‘intelligence gathering’ on UK Uncut . I had to spend 24 hours in a police cell for a legitimate protest about the government’s unfair and unnecessary cuts to public services. It is supposed to be our democratic right to protest!”
The outcome of the court hearing on Monday – in which the 21 will be entering plees ahead of the first full trials in November – is unclear given the unprecedented nature of the move.
The courts may prosecute, adding more names to an already bulging post-riot court schedule and budget. Or they may offer ‘no evidence’, thereby formerly finding the 21 ‘not guilty’.
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