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Bailed away from G8 meetings

IMC Court Reporter | 18.03.2005 12:28 | G8 2005 | Ecology | Indymedia | Repression | London

Two people who stand accussed of minor offences relating to Section 14 of the Public Order Act have been granted conditional bail that prevents them from going with 200 metres of a G8 meetings!

This morning (Friday 18th), two people attended court to set a date for a trial relating alleged offences during a demonstration on tuesday (15th March). They had been arrested and charged with a minor offence under Section 14 of the Public Order act which does not even constitute an arrestable offence. The incident occured at the venue of a G8 ministerial meeting in The City of London, just one of many such meetings taking place on the run up to the main G8 summit in Scotland in July.

The two had been held in police custody for over 9 hours after arrest and then charged and released on police bail with conditions to remain outside of The City of London and no to attend events taking place in Derby on the 17th March.

One of the two is an accredited journalist covering the G8 and was denied the freedom to cover the events that took place in Derby.

During the magistrates court hearing this morning, the defendents representatives succesfully argued that the condition relating to exclusion from The City of London was unjustifiable as it seriously restricted the freedom to travel of the two accused. The City of London is the hub of public transport in London with over two dozen cross london routes passing through the excluded zone as well as almost every underground train line.

The magistrates however offered an appeasment to the crown prosectors request that the bail condition should remain and so the two defendents are now bailed 'Not to go to go [sic] within 200 metres of a G8 meeting'.

This unusual condition obviously seriously curtails the freedom of expression and assembly of the two individuals. In the case of the demonstrator he will be unable to attend otherwise legal demonstrations and the freedom of the press is being supressed in the case of the journalist.

These conditions will apply until at least the 7th of April when the two are to appear before the court again for an interim hearing to set a trial date. The court had been unable to set a date to the primilary hearing since the crown requested more time to find out which police officers amoung the many at the demonstration would need to be called as witnesses and also to discover what video and photographic evidence would be required.

The bail conditions are granted on the basis of the 'nature and gravity of the offense' which some might find ammusing consider the minor nature of the offence which is subject only to small fines and not custody.

The new bail conditions raise some interesting questions:

Do the meetings of campaigners which relate to the G8 summit count as 'G8 meetings' for the purposes of the bail?

Do the English courts have juristiction to prevent the two from going to Scotland should the court case extend beyond July?

So, with almost four months still to go until the G8 summit we already have court cases lining up plus another dozen people charged with offences under section 14 for riding bikes in Derby - not to mention the two million pounds that were reportly spent on policing the demonstrations there which involved just 100 demonstrators!

IMC Court Reporter


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  1. Absolute Disgrace — Ronny Meah