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SOCPA - The garrotting of commonsense and democracy continues

Netcu Watch | 07.03.2007 15:45 | Animal Liberation | Repression

Three activists have been sent to prison for a total of 7 years and nine months. Mark Taylor got 4 years, Suzanne Taylor, 2½ years, and Teresa Portwine received 15 months under SOCPA.

Beagle punching at HLS
Beagle punching at HLS

Their “crime” was to demonstrate against companies associated with Huntingdon Life Sciences and from what I can see this amounted to at the very worst an office occupation something many of us have done before leaving the premises and handing out leaflets.

Activists occupied Shell garages after the murder of Ken Saro Wiwa, environmentalists, human rights and peace activists have also used this tactic but merely because the premises were associated with vivisection a crime is deemed to have been committed. Methinks that it will not be too long before this disgusting attack on liberty extends to activists protesting about other matters!

Predictably the press have commended the incarceration of 3 decent people and Mr Justice Goldring commented that people have the right to work unhindered. The Trade and Industry Secretary Mr Alistair Darling’s diatribe against the 3 included something about HLS workers doing “life saving medical research”. What fascinates me is the fact that the government, police and courts cannot actually be bothered to protect people who actually do save lives - those who work in the NHS.

Panorama recently reported that 1 health worker is assaulted EVERY 7 minutes (as opposed to being “harassed” or mildly annoyed). A nurse interviewed was attacked with a needle leaving her with permanent nerve damage, the CPS decided that it was not in the public interest to prosecute. A doctor was kicked in the head and his assailant was given a suspended sentence and a £500 fine. Clearly Mr Darling believes that people who torture animals to test a new food colouring are much more important than people who actually save lives.

NHS workers are almost expected to be routinely verbally abused, punched and kicked as do many public workers none of whom have the right to “work unhindered”. What an interesting set of priorities?

Strange thing is if we invent a hypothetical scenario with a person who works within the NHS and also does animal experiments who finds that his laboratory has protestors outside the entrance he will get more police protection by saying he feels harassed than if he is beaten to a pulp whilst he walks the hospital corridors.

The icing on the cake of this disgraceful sentencing and brown nosing with the multinationals is the sentence on the same day of a low-life called Steven Chapman.

He was peeing up the side of a supermarket when 78 year old Benjamin Kerr, an Alzeimers sufferer, remonstrated with him. Chapman probably bored of abusing animals at the livestock market where he worked attacked Mr Kerr leaving him on the ground. This scum then stole alcohol stepping over Mr Kerr on his way out. Mr Kerr shortly died from the injuries inflicted.

Apparently killing someone is of far less import than potentially upsetting a companies profit Chapman got 2 years in prison half that of Mark Taylor. This is the sort of society the government has created. It is OK to kill but not to protest!

Mocking the families of murder victims

Let's compare the sentences handed down yesterday to non-violent animal activists Mark , Suzanne and Teresa with those of convicted murderers in the UK.

As you will see, Mark's four year sentence for allegedly putting people off their work who are involved in the torture of animals far surpasses the sentences handed down to those that have committed the most brutal of murders.

Yesterday's sentencing was just another example of the lengths that the capitalist system will go to in a bid to protect the huge profits derived from the torture of animals in laboratories.

* A top policeman has spoken of his shock at the sentence given to a 16-year-old who knifed and killed a schoolboy in a Shirley park. Detective Inspector Neil Cochlin who led the investigation into the manslaughter of 17-year-old Gavin Brown, said he could understand the "anger and upset" his family felt at the killer's three year jail sentence.

* A 22-year-old man has been sentenced to a minimum of two years in jail for killing a pensioner who challenged him about urinating in the street.

* A Pontypool sales executive who killed another driver in a head-on collision, just two minutes after sending a text message, has been jailed for two years.

* A County Limerick man has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for his part in a motorcycle crash in which his brother lost his life.

* In 1991 Joseph McGrail was tried in Birmingham for the murder of his wife. He pleaded provocation on the basis that his wife was an alcoholic and swore at him. He killed her by repeatedly kicking her in the stomach. At the trial the judge commented ….."this lady would have tried the patience of a saint", he gave him a two year suspended sentence.

* In 1995 Brian Steadman was jailed for three years after he hit his wife 13 times with a hammer, he pleaded diminished responsibility due the his wife's constant nagging.

* In 1997 Joseph Swinburne killed his wife by stabbing her eleven times when she told him she was leaving him for another man. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 200 hours community service.

* In 1992 Judge Dennison gave Bisla Rajinder Singh, an 18 month sentence suspended for one year for the manslaughter of his wife on the grounds of provocation. The judge told him "you have suffered through no fault of your own….your wife was a domineering lady with a sharp and persistent tongue".

* Lucy Kellet was preparing to leave Oliver Kellet after years of abuse. As she as waiting for the removal van to take her to her new home he stabbed her repeatedly with a bowie knife. He pleaded manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and was given 3 year probation.

To support the three shac prisoners please see

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Display the following 8 comments

  1. The sentences are a bit heavy..but — daggle
  2. also — whouknow
  3. join the dots — Dot
  4. Reality bites - Taylor did more than drive... — Guardian reader
  5. Violence?? — Another Lifer Forever
  6. Stupidity.... — Occupational Hazard
  7. Guardian Reader — Roger
  8. plank — duncan