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Stop Press - EDO Injunction Collapses - Watch this Space

Smashnik | 10.02.2006 20:30 | Anti-militarism | Repression | London | South Coast

The EDO MBM High Court injunction case has collapsed

see for details

victory demo - 1st March at EDO MBM 4-6

10th February 2006


Brighton arms manufacturer EDO MBM have dropped their claim to a blanket anti-protestor injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act, in an out of court settlement on Friday 3rd February. The decision is expected to be finalised in the High Court on Monday 13th. This means that the controversial high court interim injunction restricting the right to protest outside the factory will no longer apply. EDO MBM have also agreed to pay the costs of those defendants who have settled, estimated at £200 000.

The future of the injunction proceedings against named protesters will be decided on Monday 13th - 15th February at the Royal Courts of Justice when EDO’s lawyer Timothy Lawson Cruttenden will face allegations of professional misconduct for illegally obtaining evidence and disobeying a court order to reveal correspondence between himself, EDO MBM and the police.

Since March 2005 when EDO MBM began proceedings under the Protection from Harassment Act, there have been over thirty arrests outside the factory. Two people, Jaya Nyanajoti and Paul Robinson were imprisoned for alleged breaches of the injunction.

Since the beginning of the case the defendants have maintained that the use of the PHA Act against anyone who protested was an unacceptable attack on civil liberties. In December the defendants applied for the injunction to be struck out on these grounds and the Judge Walker had adjourned to consider the matter.

EDO MBM were obviously not optimistic about their chances as they opted for a settlement meaning that only three defendants, Lorna Marcham, Chris Osmond and Ceri Gibbons are still bound by the injunction, these defendants will deny that they are guilty of harassment and insist that the case against them should proceed to a full trial.

The weakness of EDO MBM's case was highlighted on February 7th as three protesters including Ms Marcham were acquitted of holding an illegal assembly outside the factory on the anniversary of the war last year. Charges were dropped as soon as the judge ordered that a Public Immunity Interest certificate be removed.

Spokesman for SMASH EDO Andrew Beckett said “The collapse of the injunction exposes how misguided the attempt by EDO MBM and Sussex Police to stifle legitimate protest has been. We have had to put up with arrests and continual police harassment and maintained our presence outside the factory. This is a major victory for civil rights and the peace movement – We will be here until EDO isn't”


Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London. 10:am.
Monday 13th Feb-15th Feb 2006

EDO MBM, Home Farm Road, Brighton.
14th February

Regular protestors will be accompanied by Maya Evans of Downing St fame outside the factory on Home Farm Rd. We will be reading out some of the names of those who died in the illegal attack on Iraq and reminding EDO that such killings would be impossible without all the people 'just doing their jobs' that make it possible for the person pulling the trigger to do theirs.


Notes for Journalists

Brighton & Hove is a UN Peace Messenger City

The injunction referred to was served under the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act (originally designed to protect women from stalkers) and is the first of its kind directed at activists outside of the animal rights movement. Crucially it is a civil injunction but carries criminal penalties. It affects anyone deemed to be a protestor. Initially EDO/MBM requested a large "exclusion zone" comprising the whole of Home Farm Industrial Estate.

They and Sussex police also wanted to limit demonstrations to two and a half hours, with less thanten people who had to be silent. Judge Gross refusedto impose these conditions at the initial hearing of an interim injunction, which was put in place in the period before the full trial to be heard at the High court in London from November 21st. In his summing up he said, "The right to freedom of _expression is jealously guarded in English law" and consequently refused to impose the requested limits on size, timing or noise made at demonstrations. He also said that he doubted that protesters were 'stalking' employees of EDO MBM.

EDO MBM Technologies Ltd are the sole UK subsidiary of huge U.S arms conglomerate EDO Corp, which was recently named No. 10 in the Forbes list of 100 fastest growing companies. They supply bomb release mechanisms to the US and UK armed forces amongstothers. They supply crucial components for Raytheon's Paveway guided bomb system, widely used in the "Shock and Awe" campaign in Iraq.

EDO also withdrew a threatened libel action against Indymedia over being named as "warmongers".

Lawson-Cruttenden & Co
Solicitors firm working for EDO have been instrumental in developing the Protection of Harassment Act 1997 from a measure designed to safeguard individuals to a corporate charter to make inconvenient protest illegal. Theyhave pioneered to use of injunctions to create large "exclusion zones". They have secured numerous injunctions against anti-vivisection and anti-GM protestors.

Campaign against EDO MBM
People involved in the anti-EDO campaign include, but are not limited to: local residents, the Brighton Quakers, peace activists, anti-capitalists, Palestine Solidarity groups, human rights groups, trade unionists, academics and students. The campaign started in August 2004 with a peace camp. It's avowed aim is to expose EDO MBM and their complicity in war crimes and to remove them from Brighton.

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