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Mel Broughton NOT found guilty - now what?

iwatch | 08.11.2008 13:48 | Animal Liberation | Repression | Oxford | World

Mel Broughton of the oxford anti vivisection campaign Speak still imprisoned despite not being found guilty of anything. What happened to the presumption of innocence? Perhaps this is what happens in a "dirty war"? He has spent last christmas in prison. Will he have to endure the same this year?

The following article was published in the Guardian on Friday, 07/11/2008:

A prominent animal rights activist accused of planting petrol bombs at Oxford University was yesterday cleared of possessing an explosive substance - packets of sparklers - with intent.

The verdict in the trial of Mel Broughton, 48, is a setback for the police investigation into a series of attacks aimed at preventing construction of a £20m animal testing research laboratory in Oxford.

The jury at Oxford crown court was unable to reach a decision on two other charges, of conspiracy to commit arson and possession of articles with intent to damage or destroy property. The prosection has asked for a retrial. Broughton was alleged to have caused £14,000 damage when the Queen's College sports pavilion blew up in November 2006.

Two similar bombs were planted under a temporary building used as an office at Templeton college three months later but failed to go off. The bomb attacks were claimed by the Animal Liberation Front on its website, Bite Back, the court was told.

Broughton was accused of having planned and possibly carried out two arson attacks on buildings belonging to the university as part of a "terrorist campaign" against the research laboratory.

The two improvised devices which exploded at the sports pavilion were made with fuel and a fuse operated by sparklers. Two similar bombs were planted under a portable building used as an office at Templeton college in February last year but failed to go off.

The jury heard that the university had been the target of animal rights campaigners since it announced plans in 2004 to build a biomedical research laboratory. Broughton was said to be the leading figure in the animal rights group SPEAK which was set up in 2004 in protest at plans to build the animal experimentation laboratory at Oxford. The jury was told that a DNA sample found on part of the fuse in one of the failed Templeton devices matched Broughton.

When police arrested him at his home in Northampton, in December last year, they discovered 14 packets of sparklers and a battery connector in an unused water tank in his bathroom. Underneath his carpet was a university employee's security pass and a notebook containing a list of those identified as targets for "direct action", the court heard.

Broughton told the court he was involved in organising legal demonstrations against the lab in South Parks Road, Oxford. He denied having anything to do with the bombs. He told the jury that he was "too high-profile" to risk carrying out the attacks, being a well known activist.

The judge, Patrick Eccles, discharged the jury and remanded Broughton in custody until a hearing on a date to be fixed. A new trial is expected next year.

David Bentley, defending, said he wanted Broughton's remand in custody reviewed at the next hearing in the light of the not guilty verdict



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Police 'war' against bomb accused

08.11.2008 15:32

The following article is taken from the BBC news website on 04/11/2008. Who do you trust?


Mel Broughton denies conspiracy to commit arson

Police officers were recorded saying they would wage a "dirty war" against an activist accused of fire-bombing Oxford University, a court has heard.

Mel Broughton, 48, from Northampton, is accused of targeting Queen's College in protest at the University's plans to build an animal research laboratory.

The Oxford Crown Court jury was shown a transcript with officers scheming to "get him", defence counsel said.

Mr Broughton denies conspiracy to commit arson over the attacks.

The sports pavilion at Queen's College was petrol-bombed in November 2006.

Mr Broughton's barrister, David Bentley, told the court that the police did not know they were being overheard when the recording was made.

The defendant said the officers' comments caused him "great concern".

He also told the court that he was constantly watched, filmed and followed by police and their actions made him completely "paranoid".

Mr Broughton, of Semilong Road, also denies an alternative charge of possessing articles with intent to destroy property and keeping an explosive substance with intent.


Support Mel

11.11.2008 22:20


All this for one, but not one law for all.

Please send letters of support to Mel.
See details at

SPEAK Campaign supporters spend Thursday afternoon opposite Oxford University's new animal torture lab on South Parks Road, showing their disgust and outrage at the prospect of the barbaric research which will take place within its walls and providing a voice for those animals destined to suffer inside who cannot speak out for themselves.

You can also support the Oxford University Degree Ceremony Demo on Saturday 29th November 2008

Whilst for some people the degree ceremonies are about celebrating their academic achievements, for the animals imprisoned inside Oxford University's labs it is just another day of abuse and fear, waiting to die in painful and pointless experiments. Join us in our protests as unless people stand up and take action then the suffering of these animals will continue.

Meet from 10.30 at at the Sheldonion Theatre, Broad Street, Oxford City Centre. on 29th November.

For maps and more details go to