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Protester Accused of 'Harassing, Alarming,and Distressing' the Police

* | 03.05.2007 19:48 | Anti-militarism | Repression | Terror War | South Coast

the irony...

Today Marcus Wise, described by Sussex CPS as 'one of the most vocal' of protesters against the EDO MBM warmongers in Brighton, faced bizarre allegations that he had conducted a course of conduct amounting to the harassment of a well known Sussex police officer.

Marcus answered his summons to appear for a second time this week at Brighton Magistrates Court, to fix a date for his trial.

He may be forced to defend himself without a lawyer, due to CPS dodgy dealings. Missing CPS witness statements meant Marcus was refused legal aid last week on grounds that the offence was not serious enough (it was assumed to be a simple refusal to pay a penalty for swearing), but when the statements finally turned up two days ago in the courtroom, in the Crown prosecuter's file, marked 'defence copy', he was suprised to find that his Section 5 charge for which he had refused a Fixed Penalty Notice last November, had magically increased into six allegations of harassment of a particular and well known cop ( by a strange coincidence it was the same one who had tried to force the Penalty on him last year and failed).

The only witness in support of the allegation of an offence, was none other than EDO MBM's own security guard, who is suspected of being less than neutral in his attitude towards Smash EDO protesters.

All the allegations involved Marcus making public political statements at demonstrations (through a megaphone) to numerous witnesses, often expressed with biting satirical wit. These statements were either critical of the EDO MBM bomb building factory, which has been the subject of anti-war protests for over three years, or a certain police officer who guards the factory on regular occasions, or Sussex Police in general for their collusion with the corporation in bringing an abusive high court harassment injunction against protesters in 2005-6, which later collapsed.

For instance at the world naked bike ride event in Brighton last year, Marcus is alleged to have announced to the assembly that people should beware because the Brighton police have a habit of 'stealing things', (like fund raising buckets from the Smash EDO campaign stall as an example). The poor Sussex PC who is alleging Marcus is harassing him, found that this public statement to a group of volatile and obviously dangerous naked cyclists, caused him 'harassment, alarm, and distress'.

At another event Marcus is alleged to have announced by megaphone, in reference to the PC, ' I thought I was the biggest wanker in Brighton, but +++++ was in' Wankers Corner'. This was a reference to a regular feature in Rough Music, a popular local freepaper in Brighton, renowned for its erudite, accomplished, and nuanced journalism. This incident of drawing attention to the PC's bad reviews in the local press was obviously not taken very well.

The case was adjourned till next Tuesday, so that Marcus could make a renewed application for legal aid, (now he has to rebut six rather than one allegation), but the CPS decided he wouldn't escape today without some form of infringement to his civil liberties and they applied for strict bail conditions preventing him from exercising his right to protest at the EDO MBM bomb factory, now somehow related to the 'harassed' police officer.

In response Marcus made an impassioned defence of his freedom of expression and protest, citing Article 10 of the European Convention, asserting that the bail and its conditions were an attempt to prevent him from demonstrating at the factory, and this was clearly another attempt at political intimidation by the authorities, who were known to wish to see an end to the campaign against EDO in Brighton.

The three magistrates retired for a five minute (fag) break, before returning to announce their judgement, that Marcus was right, that no bail was necessary, and that a continued summons till Tuesday was all that was necessary.

the case continues

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Display the following 5 comments

  1. dont worry marcus — masked bandit
  2. we shall overcome — MACKENZIESREVENGE
  3. The crass hypocrisy — sick of it all
  4. good luck dude! — tipobarra!
  5. A WORD TO THE WISE — William Cobbett