The first charge, dating back to 2001, was for cutting through the perimeter fence at AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment) Aldermaston, Berkshire – Britain’s nuclear bomb factory and research centre - where the intention had been to carry out a citizen's inspection of the facility. This case had already been heard in 2002, however, with Mr Gwyntopher then refusing as a matter of principle to pay £40 compensation to the MoD (Ministry of Defence) (though he had voluntarily paid court costs), for which he had ‘served time’ at the back of the court. However, the court’s records of this hearing had since been destroyed. On this charge, the magistrate accepted the defendant’s version of events and dropped the outstanding sum.
The second charge related to Mr Gwyntopher’s participation in a six-hour sit-down blockade in 2003, coinciding with the ‘War is Pants’ D10 action (report: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,878173,00.html ), just prior to the bombing and invasion of Iraq, at Joint Military Headquarters, Northwood, north-west London (British military headquarters for planning and controlling overseas, including operations in Iraq; and also the nerve centre for Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system). This action incurred a £150 fine, which Mr Gwyntopher flatly refused to pay as a matter of conscience, having already denied the bailiffs access to his home on previous occasions. With the court unable to extract the sum from the defendant’s pension and the magistrate satisfied that he had no intention of paying the outstanding fine of his own volition, and after consulting with his colleagues outside the courtroom, the magistrate finally sentenced the defendant to five days’ imprisonment (not suspended) at HMP Wormwood Scrubs, with immediate effect. As he was ushered out of the courtroom, Mr Gwyntopher was consoled by his wife and other supporters from the public gallery.
1. See also earlier report: “WMD in Aldermaston, not Iraq: Protest at East London Court” https://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/08/378604.html
Trident Ploughshares: http://www.tridentploughshares.org/index.php3
Block the Builders (at AWE Aldermaston): http://www.blockthebuilders.org.uk/
Quaker Peace and Social Witness:
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament: http://www.cnduk.org/
e-mail: dviesnik at yahoo dot co dot uk