Despite the police’s best efforts, peaceful protest will go unpunished this time!
Two activists who were charged with breach of Section 4A(1) of the Public Order Act after a peaceful protest at KuDOs Pharmaceuticals have had their charges dropped.
KuDOs Pharmaceuticals, who are now set to close as part of AstraZeneca’s cost cutting measures, have been the target of lawful protest because of AstraZeneca’s links to the contract animal lab Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS).
The small 3 person protest on the day in question was treated to a full display of police wastefulness as 2 vans, one car and the NETCU 4×4 arrived. A policewoman was caught on camera telling a campaigner he was ‘taking the piss’ (our sources tell us she got a mild ticking off for use of language after a member of the public complained!) but no arrests were made on the day.
The arrests happened about a month after the alleged offences and were timed to disrupt a day of action against HLS’s business associates in the Cambridge area. Despite this the day of action was successful as the police overkill put HLS linked companies on high alert for what was, in actuality, a small protest!
The activists were first arrested under Section 5 POA and bailed to return to the station. On returning for bail they were then charged with the more serious, but similar, Section 4A(1) and banned from going to the Science Park (where KuDOs is located) as a condition of bail.
The allegations levelled against them were such outrageously serious crimes as posting a leaflet through the door! The staff also complained that for some inexplicable reason they ‘couldn’t’ leave the building for their Xmas meal. Does it really only take 3 non-threatening individuals, making no obstruction whatsoever to blockade an office?
The ‘advance disclosure evidence’ from the police contained nonsense, none of the chants identified by officers were used by the activists, the description of one activists hair colour was taken from a photo obtained by police from her college (and was not the same as that on the day of the protest) and weirdly they named well-known and respected 90 year old – Joan Court – saying she ‘was the leader of SHAC’ – maybe someone should have let Joan and SHAC know that!
However the CPS have now decided to drop the charges. A police officer while charging one of the activists in question spoke about a previous case that the CPS had dropped against the campaigner saying
If it was up to us we would probably see how it played out in court but the CPS are a bit more….[struggles to find words]
Sensible the campaigner said completing the sentence. Indeed, who isn’t?