Archives for category: I’m Spartacus!

Today the 21 Spartacus defendants, who reinstated their cases after they  were dropped by the CPS, had their cases formally dismissed after pleading ‘not guilty’ and having no evidence presented against them.

This throws the conviction of 10 people for aggravated trespass last week into stark relief. The judgement was made that these defendants were guilty on the basis of joint enterprise – that as a group they had intended to intimidate.  This was despite the fact that none of the defendants were shown to be doing anything intimidating.The CPS chose to drop 109 cases, leaving 30 to face trial.  Then, due to a processing error, they accidentally dropped one of the 30 cases, leaving 29. The first 10 defendants were there because they had previous convictions (a point which was ruled as not relevant to the case at hand), or because they were carrying placards (in one case, the placard was a UCU placard) or used a megaphone.  Perhaps the most ridiculous was one defendant who was seen on CCTV to pick up a green umbrella and open it.

The facts are simple.  The 21 spartacus defendants walked into the shop, along with those still facing trial.  They participated in the meetings, and remained in the shop until the group decided to leave, and were subsequently arrested.

The very basis that the prosecution used to divide the defendants has been dismissed as irrelevant – but we still have very different outcomes for various defendants.

This is great news that the Spartacus defendants were found not guilty. We hope that this decision will help the court of appeal to make the right decision about those convicted last week, and that people are not intimidated from protesting about issues they care about.

Tommorrow, 10 UK Uncut activists begin their three week trial at Westminster Magistrates Court over their alleged involvement in a tax avoidance protest inside Fortnum and Mason.

Of the 145 people originally arrested at the luxury store on March 26 this year, 29 face trials which will be conducted by the courts in three separate groups, ending in March next year.

The Crown Prosecution Service have charged all the defendants with Aggravated Trespass, alleging that each had an “intention to intimidate”[1].
Across the three weeks of this first trial Chief Police Officers will be cross examined and the defence are expected to challenge their controversial decision to use ‘mass arrest’ tactics. Information will be revealed about the alleged misleading of protesters by the police [2] and claims that arrests were made for intelligence gathering purposes [3], as part of what the protestors brand ‘political policing’. Read the rest of this entry »

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Today saw a case management hearing for the upcoming trials, and what was meant to be some form of decision on the ‘Spartacus’ cases.  It was also a bit of a warm up for the barristers, Richard and Annabel, who will be representing many of the first trial defendants in court in November.

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Fortnum and Mason 145 Campaign

Tel: 07771850963

Email: media@fortnum145.org

Embargo: 10/10/2011

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 [1].

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 [2].

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 [3].

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 [4].

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 [5]. 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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On October 10th there will be a case hearing for the trial and for the 21 brave people who are standing tall with the remaining defendants.

It’d be a great chance for you to come and show your solidarity with the Fortnum145 too, if you’re in London then, and there will be a small gathering by the Magistrates Court from 1pm to 3pm. Of course, there’ll be plenty of like-minded people there too.

So that’s:

10 October 2011
1pm – 3pm
City of Westminster Magistrates Court
181 Marylebone Road NW1 5HB

Here’s the Facebook event, so you can let us know if you’re coming.
We hope to see you there!

I have put myself back on trial to support the F&M defendants because I believe the CPS has no more reason to prosecute them than they do to prosecute me. It is in no-ones interest to penalise peaceful protest. It is in everyones’ interest to support people who stand up against injustice.

Anonymous Spartacus

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