The six Bristol EDO Decommissioners are back at court in Brighton this Friday, May 8th. Alongside them will be the 3 Brighton campaigners allegedly caught up in the anti-EDO arms factory action back on 16 January.
The court appearance comes just days after Smash EDO’s Mayday Mayday street party and protest against the EDO weapons factory, that saw upto 2000 take to the streets and largely outflank a massive operation by riot cops. Separately to the street party, actions were also taken against banks and corporations involved in the business of making money out of wars and oppression.
This court hearing is important, not just because it should set a date for the actual trial, but also because it may influence the defendants claims for legal aid, and their bail conditions. Presently the 4 Bristolians out on bail all face onerous and petty bail conditions. At least one defendant faces severe problems doing their usual summer work due to geographical bail restrictions. Presently none are able to actually meet up with eachother, which makes planning their defence a nightmare, and walking around Bristol an absurd game of hide not seek. Remember they are innocent until proven guilty! British justice, what a farce!
For the 2 Bristol defendants who have been in prison, locked up day and night, since January 16th, the court hearing may be an opportunity to be allowed out on bail. Robert Alford in HMP Lewes is known to be in need of treatment that he cannot practically get whilst inside. Elija (James) Smith in HMP Bristol is actually serving his 5 week Raytheon sentence at present. That ends on 19 May and its hoped he will then have the chance of coming out on bail. Do write in solidarity to the prisoners, and take whatever action you feel appropriate to support them and the anti-arms trade campaigns.
The 3 defendants from Brighton also face petty & stupid bail conditions which must be lifted. They didn’t even particpate in the action, so their present conditions can only be the result of a high-up political decision to persecute known anti-militarist campaigners.
There is a chance the court may make a decision on the Decommissioners legal aid situation. If the court recognises the case as a ‘special’ one due to its complexity (ie conspiracy), then they may be entitled to more legal aid than the current paltry figure of £5000. If not then we’ll all have to do some serious fundraising.
There is also a benefit for the Decommissioners this Saturday, 9 May, in Bristol, with the great Rita Lynch playing live. Details here.
So fingers crossed for a good outcome on Friday. Solidarity with all the defendants!