Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/690/13003

From The Socialist newspaper, 19 October 2011

Not guilty: Jury rejects the politically motivated charge of 'conspiracy'

A Socialist Party member

Courtesy of British Transport Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, nine people were recently given an unwanted insight into the British justice system and the frontline of political policing.

Along with 15 others, they were arrested for taking part in a protest against a neo-Nazi gig in South London in 2009. Kept on bail until they thought they'd been forgotten, they were charged with conspiracy to commit violent disorder.

So many were charged that they couldn't all fit into one court room and were split into two trials. The trial of the nine eventually started two and a half years after the first trial had begun.

Conspiracy is a very useful offence for prosecutors. A conspiracy is where two or more people agree to commit an offence. However, as the chief prosecutor in the trial explained, no actual evidence of an agreement has to be produced for a successful conviction. All they have to do is make inferences from behaviour that show the accused must have agreed to a plan and been part of a conspiracy.

Three-week trial

During a gruelling three-week trial this is actually what they tried to do. No evidence was offered that any of them had taken part in any violence. Instead the jury were shown lengthy CCTV footage and asked to make guesses about what they were doing, thinking and saying at certain points.

This would have been laughable if it wasn't so serious. At one point the prosecutor seriously stated that because one of the accused was seen shrugging his shoulders on the CCTV, that must mean he was asking for orders!

The strangest part was how theatrical the court was. Not only do barristers continue to dress up in costumes complete with wigs but the cross-examinations of witnesses and defendants involved dramatic pauses, long soliloquies, barristers throwing their hands up in the air, gasping with pretend astonishment and fuming with pretend outrage.

There was absolutely no evidence of any plan so the prosecution relied on daft assertions, like anyone wearing a normal baseball cap is trying to hide their identity, and on outrageous political attacks. People who hold socialist views were called old-fashioned extremists who were responsible for the Great Famine in China!

At best, the prosecution had evidence that two people were involved in a fight with neo-Nazis on the day yet they attempted to prosecute 23 people and found the resources to do so. This was a clear cut case of a politically motivated prosecution attempting to criminalise political activism.

'Keep up the good work'

Thankfully, after a three-week trial at a cost running into the millions, a jury of 12 ordinary people unanimously acquitted the nine after deliberating for less than an hour. Incredibly, the jury even told them to keep up the good work!

However at a similar, earlier trial seven people were convicted of being part of a conspiracy so it may be deployed again in the future. It forms part of wider attempts by the government to criminalise political activity, erode hard-won democratic rights and activists and trade unionists should be aware of it.

As the cuts begin to bite, it is likely that the use of conspiracy charges to round up large groups of activists will be an important tool in the box of dirty tricks to undermine opposition to the government's plans.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 19 October 2011:


Socialist Party news and analysis

15 October: day of intercontinental resistance

Scandal reveals corrupt influence of big business on government

The Hardest Hit protests

Rocketing rents leave tenants facing eviction

Fast news


Socialism 2011

Come to Socialism 2011


What we think

Mass movement needed to save our NHS


Socialist Party workplace news

Support Remploy workers

Construction electricians march on Blackfriars

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party youth and students

We are the 99% - Fighting for our future

Anti-union, low paying, bullying bosses

Birmingham youth service ravaged by cuts


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Not guilty: Jury rejects the politically motivated charge of 'conspiracy'

Dale Farm - occupiers defiant

More London trade unionists support call for anti-cuts candidates


International socialist news and analysis

Greek workers strike back


Socialist Party review

Reclaim the Game!


Socialist history

Hunger marches - When the unemployed fought back


 

Facebook   Twitter



Home   |   The Socialist 19 October 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Bookshop






Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter



Related links:

Democratic rights:

triangle'Defenders of democracy' mourn despot's death

triangleRepel the Tories' attacks on our democratic rights

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: The battle for democratic rights in Hong Kong

triangleDemocratic rights attack under 'fighting terror' guise

triangleCon-Dems and Labour fast-track 'snoopers charter'

Conspiracy:

triangleTheatre Review: United We Stand

triangleBlacklist Support Group lobbying political parties

triangleCullum McAlpine arrested over blacklisting

triangleElectrician wins his case

Jury:

triangleUprising against police violence in the US

triangleCoulson conviction: Cameron should go!

triangleKazakhstan: Vadim Kuramshin faces 12-year jail sentence after appeal denied

Trial:

triangleHSBC tax dodging scandal

triangleCoulson faces prosecution over Tommy Sheridan

Policing:

triangleSouthwark Socialist Party: Political policing and the Irish water tax

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

24/4/15

TUSC

TUSC radio broadcast

23/4/15

Education

Wales: Hundreds protest cuts to adult education

22/4/15

Housing

Housing crisis: We demand rent controls!

22/4/15

CWU

CWU conference: We need a fighting trade union

22/4/15

Gateshead

Kone engineers

22/4/15

Unison

Pay issues dominate at Unison Health conference

22/4/15

Usdaw

Usdaw conference

22/4/15

NUS

NUS women's conference

22/4/15

Fast Food Rights

Fast food workers hungry for justice

21/4/15

Iran

May Day support for jailed labour activists in Iran

20/4/15

Global

Global action day against TTIP

18/4/15

Fast Food Rights

Global Fast Food Rights day of action

15/4/15

Scotland

Glasgow and Dundee: All-out strikes demand fair pay

15/4/15

Bromley

Bromley council workers show how to fight Tories

15/4/15

Appeal

Election appeal update

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

triangle23 Apr Wales: Hundreds protest cuts to adult education

TUSC campaigners in Milton Keynes, 18.4.15

triangle22 Apr Election: Distorted effect of anger against austerity

triangle22 Apr Beyond the Pale - capitalism and the environment

Over 1,000 people marched in Leeds on Saturday 28 April in defence of the NHS , photo Iain Dalton

triangle22 Apr Stop NHS cuts!

triangle21 Apr May Day support for jailed labour activists in Iran

triangle18 Apr Global Fast Food Rights day of action

triangle15 Apr We can end the housing crisis

More ...

triangle25 Apr Barking & Dagenham Socialist Party: The European Union - No to the bosses' union

triangle25 Apr Derby TUSC meeting: Why you should vote for TUSC

triangle26 Apr Blackpool: Socialist Party Usdaw conference meeting

triangle26 Apr Bournemouth: NSSN meeting at CWU conference

More ...

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Find us on Facebook

Archive

Categories

1-9 

1-9 


Archives:

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice