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Christian anti-Trident activists win court victory

Tue 01 Aug 2017
By Eno Adeogun

A group of Christian anti-Trident campaigners who blocked the entrance to a nuclear weapons factory have had their convictions overturned.

The five men and women glued themselves together with tubes and lay down to block the main access road to the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in West Berkshire, in June 2016.

Nina Carter-Brown, Nick Cooper, Angela Ditchfield, Joanna Frew, and Alison Parker, used superglue and lock-on tubes, with the message "Jesus said love your enemies don't bomb them", to block the entrance to the military facility on 27th June 2016.

Put Down The Sword


They were arrested and charged with willfully obstructing free passage along a highway, contrary to the 1980 Highways Act, while displaying messages including "Jesus said love your enemies don't bomb them".

District Judge Shomon Khan found the activists from the Put Down the Sword campaign guilty at Reading Magistrates' Court in January and gave them a six-month conditional discharge with costs of £100 and a surcharge of £20.

However, their convictions were overturned by High Court judges Lord Justice Burnett and Sir Wyn Williams who allowed an appeal.

During the trial, the group called Oxford University lecturer Father Peter Hunter as a witness to argue that it would be "very reasonable" for a Christian to feel the AWE plant consisted "a very serious threat to human life and to the environment, one which must be vigorously opposed".

Put Down The Sword


The senior judges ruled the prosecution had failed to prove the Christian activists were actually lying on "a highway", as opposed to a private road.

Police said that a green line on the road marked the boundary between the public highway and a private road maintained by the Ministry of Defence. However an expert from the local council's highways department said the line may have been painted in error more than 4ft from the boundary.

The judges revoked their convictions on Monday at London's High Court.

Put Down The Sword


The group has released a statement which reads: "Trident is an illegal and immoral waste of money, a crime against humanity and God.

"The prosecution said we could just have joined in a prayer vigil to the side of the road, instead of lying in it; we said our consciences wouldn't allow that.

"We believe prayer is important but sometimes our faith compels us to put our whole bodies in the way of injustice and violence."

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