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Sunday, 8 June 2008

Prosecution finally admits defeat in climate camp fitwatch trial

The case brought against two fitwatchers for obstructing FIT teams at the Climate Camp in August 2007 finally collapsed at Uxbridge magistrates court last week.

The two defendants had been charged with obstructing a police officer – despite the fact that they were alleged to have obstructed a civilian police cameraman.

Eventually, ten months after the initial arrest, after disclosure rows and threats of judicial review, and after the personal intervention of CO11 officers to try and keep the case on track, the prosecution had to admit defeat. They accepted in court last Friday that they had no evidence to present, and they withdrew the case.

This means that despite fitwatchers having disrupted a number of their surveillance activities, and despite bringing four activists to trial, the police have not so far been able to gain a single conviction.

I have a feeling that irritates the hell out of the FIT team.

And it was nice to have a victory even after the decision in the high court case of Wood.

There’s been a fair bit of discussion in the comment section of the blog about this case, which on the face of it, doesn’t look like it’ll be much help in maintaining our 100% record of acquittals in court.

The case – and it was a pretty weak one in my opinion - was brought by Liberty and CAAT, and as it stands establishes that FIT surveillance is lawful, proportionate and justified, and does not interfere with an individual’s right to privacy. Nice one Liberty, good work.

The case will go to appeal to the House of Lords, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens then.

The full Wood judgement, if anyone wants to read it, is here
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2008/1105.html

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