The case was adjourned until 23th July, as three of the five listed days for the trial were taken up with legal argument. The defense requested the disclosure of export licenses granted to the company by the department of trade and industry (DTI). According to Peter Davis, a director of the company due to give evidence at the beginning of the re-listed trial in July, edo mbm is engaged in manufacturing activity which is fully compliant with UK law.
The judge rejected the disclosure request with such panache that the defense lawyers described it as the worst ruling they had ever seen. Consequently the defendants are left in a catch 22 situation: without a disclosure request granted it is difficult to prove illegal activity, but without proving illegal activity to the level deemed necessary to this court (the company have publicly advertised that they make the components and a former director admitted it in court) it is not possible to get a disclosure request granted.
However, some creatures hanging around Brighton and Hove Magistrates court last week took more notice of the defense's case than the judge. A seagull whipped their skeleton argument out of a barrister's hand just before it was about to be handed to the man on high. Whisperings of 'conspiracy' grew louder as the bird shat on the carefully constructed document before scattering it around the front of the court building, leaving court officials irate and the barristers scratching their heads.
It wouldn't be the first case of conspiracy involving the police, edo and their winged accomplices. Collusion and corruption scandals reached their peak in early 2006 when the queen's prosecution service dropped 23 criminal cases against protesters after the police were ordered to produce documents relating to a meeting they had had with edo and their former lawyers.
Join the luckless defendants in court on the 23rd July for what promises to be a truly entertaining performance from judge Parsons, and the cross-examination of Peter Davis that may be more successful than the disclosure application in squeezing information out of edo mbm.
Brighton and Hove Magistrates Court,
For more info: www.smashedo.org.uk