Another state clampdown on dissent as 2 defendants remain on remand
It appears that the 6 Bristol EDO Decommissioners, along with the 3 Brighton residents who have been charged with them, now face an unfair trial.
Supporters in Bristol understand that the defendants have only been awarded £5000.00 in legal aid between them, following changes to the legal aid rules that apparently came into effect in January 2009 (If you know about these legal aid changes please post a comment! Thanks). In fact the legal aid awarded is believed to cover only 8 of the defendants, as one defendant is so far without legal aid.
Clearly their charge of ‘conspiracy to commit criminal damage’ is a complicated one, and its believed the case could be in court for over 4 weeks when it eventually comes to trial. The £5000.00 legal aid awarded seems unlikely therefore to cover even their solicitor’s costs, never mind the expense of barristers in court, and of bringing in expert witnesses. Given their stated defence will rest on proving they acted to prevent a greater war crime being committed by Israel & EDO (in bombing Gaza), it is clearly in the interests of the state, and an arms industry that profits from so many governmental contracts, to ensure the defendants are unable to properly argue their case. Indeed the state would no doubt love to be able to lock up these pesky anti-militarists, out of sight and out of mind, for as long as possible with as little publicity as possible. We can be sure that the police, and the arms industry, will have no such limitations on their costs as they attempt to prosecute the case against the 9. British justice, what a joke!
A further complication appears to be that any funds raised to support their defence, could be counted against their legal aid award. So if £5000.00 or more was raised to fund their defence, they would then loose the £5000.00 awarded in legal aid. So whilst supporters can raise funds to pay for things like publicity, travel to meetings, and support for the 2 defendants on remand, that is basically it. That then is currently what the £369.00 raised at The Plough benefit on 14 February will have to go towards (and thanks to all who supported that benefit). The alternative would be for the campaign to raise a shitload of money to cover the whole of the defence without need for legal aid, but that would mean raising in the region of £50,000.00 or more. Watch out for more info on the Decommissioners site.
The next pre-trial hearing is set for 8 May, ironically just 4 days after the Smash EDO Mayday street party. In the meantime 2 defendants remain on remand. One of them, Elijah Smith (or ‘James’), also faces a trial relating to charges arising from the Raytheon actions at their site in North Bristol. The trial is scheduled for 2 days starting on April 14 in Bristol, so expect a support picket for that – more info to follow.
Support the Decommissioners on remand
Elijah Smith VP7551, HMP Bristol, 19 Cambridge Road, Horfield, BS7 8PS
Robert Alford VP7552, HMP Lewes, 1 Brighton Rd, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1E
Please start sending letters of support or visiting to keep their spirits up.
The campaign needs your support
Donations will be great fully received for the challenges that lie ahead, cheques are made payable to The Decommissioners, and send to PO Box 6, Booty, 82 Colston Street, Bristol. BS1 5BB
Campaigners in Bristol – the EDO Decommissioners need your solidarity now