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Caterkiller activist defends right to protest.

Brett Cohen | 18.12.2005 15:07 | Anti-militarism | Anti-racism | Repression | Birmingham | South Coast

Peace activist wins appeal against conviction for criminal damage after being driven into by caterkiller financial credit controller.

Caterkiller's hired goons outside Solihell magistrates court last year
Caterkiller's hired goons outside Solihell magistrates court last year

Defend your right to protest!
Defend your right to protest!

A Brighton peace activist successfully appealed against his conviction for criminal damage in Warwick Crown Court on Friday Dec 16 after the prosecution failed to provide any evidence or reliable witnesses.

Simon Levin, 31, from Brighton was arrested at a protest outside Caterpillar’s European Headquarters in Solihull last year. Caterpillar makes and sells armoured bulldozers to the Israeli Military, which are used to destroy Palestinian homes and food supplies and to build the apartheid wall.

Simon had been accused of criminal damage after John Jones, financial credit controller at Caterpillar, drove his car into the protester who was subsequently arrested for scratching the cars paintwork after landing on the bonnet. Simon said: “We had set up a military checkpoint as a piece of street theatre, I guess Mr Jones decided to play the part of a D-9 bulldozer driver.”

Pam Rose, Counsel for the defence made short work of John Jones when he was called to the stand and after the offer of police evidence was dismissed as “hearsay” by Judge Cole the trial was effectively over. Counsel for the plaintiff, Antonie Sean Muller, declared that “In the light of public interest and not wishing to waste more public money the Prosecution would withdraw their case.”

The trial lasted just one and a half hours. Mr Levin is now considering his legal options.

Alex Smith, a noodle chef, from Birmingham said: “Justice has been served.”

Simon Brown, self-employed, from Suffolk said: “Considering the nature of the arrest it is ludicrous that it got this far.”

The aim of the protest had been to inform the workers at Caterpillar of the letter sent to the directors of Caterpillar by Mr Jean Ziegler, UN High Commissioner on Human Right’s Special Rapporteur on the right to food, stating: “ Caterpillar's actions in supplying the D-9 and D-10 bulldozers mean they may be complicit in violating the right to food. Human lives had also been lost during the demolitions”, including that of American peace activist Rachel Corrie.

The company's role in supplying Israel has also been criticised by human rights group Amnesty International. In a report on Palestinian home demolitions, they called on Caterpillar to "guarantee that its bulldozers are not used to commit human rights violations".

In a statement on its website, Caterpillar says it "shares the world's concern over unrest in the Middle East and certainly have compassion for all those affected by political strife". Nevertheless, it has neither the legal right nor the means to police individual use of its equipment.”

Brett Cohen
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Hide the following 2 comments

justice for one, justice for all!

19.12.2005 17:08

well done guys!! :) this is a good step. i hope more follow, and hopefully one day a similar verdict will be issued against the murders of rachael corrie and the criminal state which sanctions the continued murder of numerous palestinians!

freedom for palestine



19.12.2005 23:46

yeah well done mate, congrats on gettin this fuckin farce quashed

defend the right to protest