Tel: 07910 329 211
27 September 2006
Trial of the 'B52 Two' Peace Activists begins in Bristol Crown Court, 2 October 2006
PHOTO-CALL: The two defendants and supporters with colourful banners will be at the entrance to Bristol Crown Court at 9.30am, Monday 2nd October
Two peace campaigners from Oxford will be tried at Bristol Crown Court from Monday 2nd October 2006. Phil Pritchard and Toby Olditch aimed to prevent the bombing of Iraq in 2003 by peacefully disarming B52 warplanes based at RAF Fairford Gloucestershire. The trial is expected to last two weeks. If convicted, the peace campaigners could face up to 10 years imprisonment for conspiring to damage the B52 bombers.
The defendants claim that their action was lawful as they acted to prevent war crimes, out of necessity to prevent loss of life, and with lawful excuse to protect the property of innocent Iraqi civilians.
Phil Pritchard said:
‘We have seen the ongoing effect on Iraq of the UK and USA’s aggression , which has brought untold suffering to civilians, and a worsening political situation. In the light of this our actions to prevent loss of life seem vindicated, and it will be for a jury to decide if we were right in law.’
A member of the support group, Jo Hamilton said:
‘The war on terror is resulting in an escalation of violence worldwide. Whilst this trial focusses on the actions of two peace campaigners, this is also an opportunity to focus on actions that everyone can do to “wage peace” in their own lives.’
Contact for Media: 07910 329 211
NOTES TO EDITORS
Venue: Bristol Crown Court, Small Street, Bristol, BS1 1DA
Background: Phil and Toby entered RAF Fairford on 18th March 2003, with the intent of disarming B52 bombers bound for Iraq. Following their arrest they were held on remand in HMP Gloucester for three months. Since then they have been involved in a legal process which culminates in this trial. The defendants argued that they acted lawfully to prevent a Crime of Aggression. After three years of legal hearings, which went to appeal at the House of Lords, the Law Lords ruled out this defence because the legality of the war could not be discussed in a domestic court. Their other defences remain as above.
The trial of Paul Milling and Margaret Jones on similar charges, which took place at the beginning of September this year, resulted in a hung jury. There will be a re-trial in the New Year.