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Coulport Protesters Admonished

Remember our long standing protesters Brian Quail & Angie Zelter arrested and held for protesting against Trident? In case you were wondering - the Justice of the Peace Court found them guilty yesterday, but was content with admonishing them, the lightest penalty that a Scottish court can impose. Please don't let these people taking on the Trident Giant all by themselves. Join the anti nuclear weapons movement now!

Please read below the Press Release from trident Ploughshares

Trident Ploughshares - Press release: 12th October 2017

 

Three anti-nuclear weapon campaigners were today admonished by a Scottish court after taking part during the summer in a blockade of RNAD Coulport, where the UK's nuclear warheads are stored and loaded onto Trident submarines.

Brian Quail from Glasgow, Angie Zelter from Knighton in Wales and Sam Donaldson from Hull were appearing in Dumbarton's Justice of the Peace Court on a charge of breaching the peace. They were arrested close to the entrance of the Coulport base on the morning of the 11th July, during the Trident Ploughshares camp at Peaton Wood on Loch Long. Following the blockade Angie and Brian had been imprisoned for 16 days on remand after refusing to accept special bail conditions barring them from approaching the nuclear weapon bases at Faslane and Coulport.

JP Symon listened with keen attention as the accused explained the motivation and justification for their action. Brian gave a harrowing account of the effect on the people of the Marshall Islands of the nuclear weapon tests there. Angie argued that Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights gave her the right to express her opinion, including by means of obstructing the activity that was the focus of her protest. Sam told the court that as a Quaker he was obliged to act on the dictates of his conscience in opposing these weapons of mass destruction. All three felt that the nuclear weapon convoys that carry warheads along the country's roads amount to a massive breach of the peace. Angie also pointed out that the UK courts have never attended to the criminality involved in the active deployment of nuclear weapons.

The police witnesses and the defence were agreed that the protest had been conducted in a calm, peaceful and orderly manner.

Acting on the legal summary given by the Assessor, the JP found all three guilty but was content with admonishing them, the lightest penalty that a Scottish court can impose. This was especially surprising given that in her plea in mitigation Angie indicated that she would continue to disrupt the activities at the nuclear weapon bases, until Trident was removed, and that Brian told the JP that he did not accept the verdict.

David Mackenzie of Trident Ploughshares said:

Those present in the court today felt that JP Symon gave the protesters a fair and respectful hearing but saw herself as having no option but to take account of the current legal tests for establishing a charge of breach of the peace. At the same time that charge is utterly absurd, given the completely peaceful actions of the protesters on the one hand and the palpable criminality of the UK's weapons of mass destruction on the other.

An even bigger issue is that people in Scotland who engage in peaceful protests against nuclear weapons (which their elected representatives and Parliament overwhelmingly oppose) end up being punished by Scottish courts. That is intolerable. A criminal justice system which is, in this matter, so much at odds with the wishes of the people, is damaging its own authority and credibility.

This Monday our First Minister congratulated ICAN, the NGO which has driven the new UN Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, for the award of the Nobel Peace Prize. She said: 'We will never accept that a limit should be placed on the contribution Scotland can make to building a better world. Strong voices for peace and justice are needed now more than ever.1' We heartily agree with her ambition for a land that aligns itself solidly with that majority world which can imagine and act for a future free of the threat of nuclear weapons.”

Contact: Brian Quail 07584 492257 Angie Zelter 07454 588943