Embargo: For immediate release:
20th November 2005
Press Contact: Andrew Beckett or Sarah Johnson
Phone: 07875 708873
[High Court, Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand. London]
FURTHER ADJOURNMENT OF SMASH EDO INJUNCTION CASE AS JUDGE CONSIDERS IF LAWYER HAS ACTED ILLEGALLY
The injunction proceedings against anti-arms trade protesters at EDO MBM, an arms manufacturer in Brighton, were adjourned yesterday until Febuary 13th 2006.
In a bizarre twist EDO's lawyer, Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden, was ordered to employ a barrister to defend him against charges of professional negligence.
Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden has made a career from stringing out high court injunction proceedings thus imposing draconian injunctions against protesters without them ever reaching a full trial.
Over the last six days Lawson-Cruttenden has been accused of deliberately attempting to delay the trial. If these charges are proved the injunction could be lifted and EDO could be charged costs.
He has also been charged with unlawfully obtaining material from the police on peace campaigners. The judge was so concerned about this that he made a court order preventing EDO from making any further investigations except those directly related to the case.
EDO MBM have been ordered to enter into negotiations with activists to find areas of common ground.
SMASH EDO: MARCH AGAINST THE INJUNCTION
Churchill Square, Brighton
12 Noon. Saturday Dec 10th 2005
Notes for journalists:
HIGH COURT INJUNCTION TRIAL TIMETABLE:
Royal Courts of Justice, High Court, London
1. Preliminary hearing on issues of illegal disclosure and amended pleadings
2. EDO INJUNCTION FULL TRIAL (?) tentative dates depending on outcome of prelim hearing) Tuesday Nov 29th - Friday Dec 2nd 2005
Brighton&Hove is a UN Peace Messenger City
The injunction referred to was served under the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act (originally designed to protect women from stalkers) and is the first of its kind directed at activists outside of the animal rights movement. Crucially it is a civil injunction
but carries criminal penalties. It affects anyone deemed to be a protestor. Initially EDO/MBM requested a large "exclusion zone"comprising the whole of Home Farm Industrial Estate.
They and Sussex police also wanted to limit demonstrations to two and a half hours, with less thanten people who had to be silent. Judge Gross refusedto impose these conditions at the initial hearing of an interim injunction, which was put in place in the
period before the full trial to be heard at the High court in London from November 21st. In his summing up he said, "The right to freedom of __expression is jealously guarded in English law" and consequently refused to impose the requested limits on
size, timing or noise made at demonstrations. He also said that he doubted that protesters were 'stalking' employees of EDO MBM.
EDO MBM Technologies Ltd are the sole UK subsidiary of huge U.S arms conglomerate EDO Corp, which was recently named No. 10 in the Forbes list of 100
fastest growing companies. They supply bomb release mechanisms to the US and UK armed forces amongstothers. They supply crucial components for Raytheon's Paveway IV guided bomb system, widely used in the "Shock and Awe" campaign in Iraq.
EDO also withdrew a threatened libel action against Indymedia over being named as "warmongers".
Lawson-Cruttenden & Co
Solicitors firm working for EDO have been instrumental in developing the Protection of Harassment Act 1997 from a measure designed to safeguard individuals to a
corporate charter to make inconvenient protest illegal. Theyhave pioneered to use of injunctions to create large"exclusion zones". They have secured numerous injunctionsagainst anti-vivisection and anti-GM protestors.
Campaign against EDO MBM.
People involved in the anti-EDO campaign include, but are not limited to: local residents, the Brighton Quakers, peace activists, anti-capitalists, Palestine Solidarity groups, human rights groups, trade unionists, academics and students. The campaign started in August 2004 with a peace camp. It's avowed aim is to expose EDO MBM and their complicity in war crimes and to remove them from Brighton.