Pamela Smith | 17.02.2006 19:51 | G8 2005
In the court case, heard by Sheriff Foulis, Pamela Smith represented herself. During her cross-examination of Police Constable Paul Johnson of Northumbria Police, who arrested her, some disturbing facts were disclosed.
Pamela Smith asked whether PC Johnson and his English police colleagues had received any briefing on Scots law before going on duty at the G8 Summit.
“Not really” he said. “We were told, 'If it's an offence in England and an offence in Scotland, it's the same offence'”.
PC Johnson also admitted that before he arrested Pamela Smith, he cautioned her using the English caution. When asked why he had used that caution, he replied: “Because it's the only one I know”. He added: “We were not briefed on whether it was lawful or not to use the English caution in Scotland”.
The court did not get the opportunity to consider whether Pamela Smith was lawfully arrested or not because both defendants were acquitted as soon as the prosecution evidence had been heard. Keith Malcolm was found Not Guilty because the evidence against him was insufficient.
Afterwards Pamela Smith said: “This court case reveals just how inadequately briefed the English police were about Scots law before the G8 Summit. I believe I was acquitted because it would have caused embarrassment to the police to give this issue further consideration”.She added: “ Perhaps the court realised that if the hearing continued, I would not have let this issue drop”.
In 1999, Pamela Smith challenged the law on Breach of the Peace on the grounds that the charge was too vague to be consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, which had become part of Scots law in 1998due to Devolution. This legal challenge resulted in the Smith v. Donnelly High Court judgement in 2001 which clarified and restricted the circumstances in which a court can convict a defendant for Breach of the Peace. She had been arrested at a blockade of the Trident nuclear submarine base at Faslane.
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