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Greenpeace and criminal damage case verdict poll


SnowBear

Greenpeace case verdict, agree or disagree  

49 members have voted

  1. 1. Agree or Disagree

    • Agree
      14
    • Disagree
      30
    • Not sure
      5


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Posted
  • Location: Colchester, Essex, UK (33m ASL)
  • Location: Colchester, Essex, UK (33m ASL)

    Following on from the discussions in the Great Climate Change Debate thread, jethro and John have said it could be a good idea to hold a poll on the verdict.

    This will also clear the Debate thread of the verdict discussions too.

    These are links to the news items at the BBC..

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/7605165.stm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/7608054.stm

    The opening link in the Debate thread which started the discussion off

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/...mes-hansen-now/

    which was from this post

    http://www.netweather.tv/forum/index.php?s...t&p=1327274

    plus a selection of links from google regarding the case..

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008...carbonemissions

    http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/poli...nterest/2441812

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/domesticNews...A34747320080910

    Quite simply, this is a poll asking whether you agree, or disagree with the verdict.

    You may wish to read through the posts from #1703 to #1734 from the Debate Thread http://www.netweather.tv/forum/index.php?showtopic=45711 before making a choice.

    I have put this in the climate area as I think it is connected with climate change and the debates etc, its effects on society and I will also leave this thread and poll open for discussion. Please post here now regarding this case and let the Great Climate Debate part go back to dealing with the "science" side of things! :-D

    Thank you!

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    Posted
  • Location: South Yorkshire
  • Location: South Yorkshire

    Well this is a good idea! I've only just got up,(working nights this week) and I'm amazed at the slanging match my post has generated whilst I've been sleeping! Perhaps we can have this thread titled the Great AGW Slanging Arena!! :lol: . Only jesting of course,but that's what these exchanges inexorably seem to gravitate towards anyway.

    I know these people are the extreme of the extremists and it is totally wrong to suggest everyone who believes the AGW theory are the same (hey,I'm quietly 'green' too y'know,though for reasons unrelated to climate change!). But as for those concerned in this sorry saga of vandalism and their 'champion' Hansen,(who was instrumental in them getting away with criminal damage akin to a community bobby keeping lookout whilst the yobs defaced a property),I suggest they go get a job instead of trying to make everyone else lose theirs ,which is what they seem bent on if they were given free reign.

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    Posted
  • Location: Putney, SW London. A miserable 14m asl....but nevertheless the lucky recipient of c 20cm of snow in 12 hours 1-2 Feb 2009!
  • Location: Putney, SW London. A miserable 14m asl....but nevertheless the lucky recipient of c 20cm of snow in 12 hours 1-2 Feb 2009!

    Thanks for setting this up, SB. I have voted, but I've no desire to be anonymous about it.

    Despite my general stance on AGW, I disagree with the verdict - though I wasn't there and didn't hear the testimony.

    But as others have said, it seems a dangerous path to go down, allowing long-term good intentions - whether mistaken or not - as a successful defence against criminal charges. There are often grey areas in things like this; but granted the many other avenues for lawful protest available in 21st Century Britain, in my opinion they pushed it too far. I wonder if perhaps the jury were annoyed by the contention that painting letters on a chimney really constituted £30K's worth of criminal damage: presumably people go up there for routine inspection & maintenance, couldn't the clean-off have waited till then? And I bet Fred Dibnah wouldn't have charged that much!

    Mind you, I also quite like the idea of a cooling-tower permanently called Gordon....if E-ON had any sense (common, and of humour), they'd have made Greenpeace look silly by christening some of their other power station chimneys "Thomas" or "Percy" or "James" (depending on height), lower buildings "Annie" & "Clarabel", and some large cooling tower "The Fat Controller".

    Ossie

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    Posted
  • Location: Godalming, Surrey
  • Location: Godalming, Surrey

    This is certainly a very interesting topic and the point I have is largely theoretical.

    I have always tended to be very sympathetic towards Greenpeace but not so on this issue. It is the free and fair democracy that we are lucky to have that granted them the right to protest and let their voice be heard. However, despite the verdict, I feel their actions were unlawful, which consequently undermines the democracy that gave them the chance to protest.

    They risk further branding as 'extremists' and alienating themselves from western moderate power centres. This I think is extremely unfortunate as, in my opinion, the issues they campaign for, are very important. Do I believe their actions helped the planet, no, not really.

    I believe that if humans have any chance of saving the planet, moderate methods based on cooperation and compromise are the best way. I think the verdict should have reflected this.

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    Posted
  • Location: South Yorkshire
  • Location: South Yorkshire
    I wonder if perhaps the jury were annoyed by the contention that painting letters on a chimney really constituted £30K's worth of criminal damage: presumably people go up there for routine inspection & maintenance, couldn't the clean-off have waited till then? And I bet Fred Dibnah wouldn't have charged that much!

    Something I often ponder,when you hear that something or other has cost telephone book figures and you wonder how on Earth such a sum is arrived at. The protesters got up there ok - just send 'em back up with a wire brush and some white spirit! Job done,no expense incurred. It's a mad world,for sure! As for the protesters' cause,just give 'em their head and let's shut all the coal-fired power stations for a week,take vehicles off the road etc and see how they,and the rest of us fare.

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    Posted
  • Location: Larbert
  • Location: Larbert
    This is certainly a very interesting topic and the point I have is largely theoretical.

    I have always tended to be very sympathetic towards Greenpeace but not so on this issue. It is the free and fair democracy that we are lucky to have that granted them the right to protest and let their voice be heard. However, despite the verdict, I feel their actions were unlawful, which consequently undermines the democracy that gave them the chance to protest.

    They risk further branding as 'extremists' and alienating themselves from western moderate power centres. This I think is extremely unfortunate as, in my opinion, the issues they campaign for, are very important. Do I believe their actions helped the planet, no, not really.

    I believe that if humans have any chance of saving the planet, moderate methods based on cooperation and compromise are the best way. I think the verdict should have reflected this.

    Very good honest post

    As remarked earlier on the other thread, a new can of worms has been opened through this.

    As an aside, who were the defence lawyers? How exactly was this case played out? Guess we'll never know....I also guess Greenpeace will be "untouchable" now in a court of law. Sad reflection on society when "do-gooders" break the law.

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    Posted
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
  • Weather Preferences: Hot & Sunny, Cold & Snowy
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
    As for the protesters' cause,just give 'em their head and let's shut all the coal-fired power stations for a week,take vehicles off the road etc and see how they,and the rest of us fare.

    Give 'em enough rope kinda thing?

    This may shock you but I would agree with that.

    We have a valley full of Mink courtesy of some "do gooders" who could/would not see the wider implications of their actions.

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    Posted
  • Location: South Yorkshire
  • Location: South Yorkshire
    Give 'em enough rope kinda thing?

    This may shock you but I would agree with that.

    We have a valley full of Mink courtesy of some "do gooders" who could/would not see the wider implications of their actions.

    Yep,the phrase "be careful what you wish for....." springs readily to mind wrt the protesters in this case.

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

    Thanks for setting this up Snowbear, seemed the logical step to take it out of the general arena and into a poll but I hadn't got a clue how to do it. Be interesting to see the results.

    Cheers

    Dawn

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    Posted
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts

    I absolutely agree with the verdict: we live in a country where free speech and protest is a rapidly eroding right, and I would fight to protect this. By allowing the issue to become muddled with criminal damage we are in danger of allowing the Government to further restrict personal freedoms of protest under the guise of protecting society.

    This type of protest has been going on for years, and is used by all walks of life (e.g. Otis Ferry and the hunt supporters who broke into Parliament, various Fathers for Justice stunts, etc).

    As for criminal damage, I don't tend to think that painting 'Gordon' on a chimney very obviously and in the cold light of day, with a stated political purpose in mind (after tipping off the media) is the same thing as harming personal property for no ideological purpose. Criminal damage is wrong, but this is not the same thing and, as such, our judicial system recognises that.

    In addition, we in the West spend an awful lot of time destroying civilians' personal property in other parts of the world and, via capitalism, have led to hideous acts of vandalism on a worldwide scale.

    I am heartened to see such concern on the part of NW members for the moral wellbeing of our country, but wonder would they be showing so much interest were it not Greenpeace? I also wonder whether they would also have been tut-tutting at Mandela and the ANC, the students of Tiananmen Square, the Tibetan protesters and other activists who have used direct action to further their rightful cause....

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    Posted
  • Location: Huddersfield, 145m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Lots of snow, lots of hot sun
  • Location: Huddersfield, 145m ASL
    I absolutely agree with the verdict: we live in a country where free speech and protest is a rapidly eroding right, and I would fight to protect this. By allowing the issue to become muddled with criminal damage we are in danger of allowing the Government to further restrict personal freedoms of protest under the guise of protecting society.

    This type of protest has been going on for years, and is used by all walks of life (e.g. Otis Ferry and the hunt supporters who broke into Parliament, various Fathers for Justice stunts, etc).

    As for criminal damage, I don't tend to think that painting 'Gordon' on a chimney very obviously and in the cold light of day, with a stated political purpose in mind (after tipping off the media) is the same thing as harming personal property for no ideological purpose. Criminal damage is wrong, but this is not the same thing and, as such, our judicial system recognises that.

    In addition, we in the West spend an awful lot of time destroying civilians' personal property in other parts of the world and, via capitalism, have led to hideous acts of vandalism on a worldwide scale.

    I am heartened to see such concern on the part of NW members for the moral wellbeing of our country, but wonder would they be showing so much interest were it not Greenpeace? I also wonder whether they would also have been tut-tutting at Mandela and the ANC, the students of Tiananmen Square, the Tibetan protesters and other activists who have used direct action to further their rightful cause....

    100% agree - without direct action many of the liberties we currently enjoy would not exist. As has been illustrated by this debate, it is far too easy to erode our personal liberty by using seemingly perfectly justifiable arguments about 'the rule of law' and 'protecting society'.

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
    I absolutely agree with the verdict: we live in a country where free speech and protest is a rapidly eroding right, and I would fight to protect this. By allowing the issue to become muddled with criminal damage we are in danger of allowing the Government to further restrict personal freedoms of protest under the guise of protecting society.

    This type of protest has been going on for years, and is used by all walks of life (e.g. Otis Ferry and the hunt supporters who broke into Parliament, various Fathers for Justice stunts, etc).

    As for criminal damage, I don't tend to think that painting 'Gordon' on a chimney very obviously and in the cold light of day, with a stated political purpose in mind (after tipping off the media) is the same thing as harming personal property for no ideological purpose. Criminal damage is wrong, but this is not the same thing and, as such, our judicial system recognises that.

    In addition, we in the West spend an awful lot of time destroying civilians' personal property in other parts of the world and, via capitalism, have led to hideous acts of vandalism on a worldwide scale.

    I am heartened to see such concern on the part of NW members for the moral wellbeing of our country, but wonder would they be showing so much interest were it not Greenpeace? I also wonder whether they would also have been tut-tutting at Mandela and the ANC, the students of Tiananmen Square, the Tibetan protesters and other activists who have used direct action to further their rightful cause....

    Excellent post, Roo!

    Does anyone have any idea how much was paid to Dr Hansen for his expert testimony?

    Dunno and so what?

    How much was Dr Philip Stott paid to give evidence in the 'Nine errors in An Inconvenient Truth' case?

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

    For those concerned about their human rights and erosion of freedom of speech; both are enshrined in law, British, European and by The United Nations.

    Of course when applying the Human Rights act, it does apply to all parties concerned, including those who own property being damaged by another person. The very essence of Human Rights is that we are all equal, we can all expect due consideration and protection; no one person or organisation can, or should expect to exercise their rights at the expense of another's.

    http://www.echr.coe.int/NR/rdonlyres/D5CC2...lishAnglais.pdf

    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Pages/WelcomePage.aspx

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts1998/ukpga_19980042_en_1

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights

    "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”

    —Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)[2

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    Posted
  • Location: South Yorkshire
  • Location: South Yorkshire

    http://thefatbigot.blogspot.com/2008/09/is...nal-damage.html

    Here's one guy's reasoned and lengthy view of the matter. I especially agree with the bit where he says they should be sectioned under the Mental Health Act for believing in AGW. I know that won't go down well on here,but hey Roo,free speech an' all that. That is something which is silenced if it comes from a 'denier' (Grr). I don't think the protesters have anything to protest about,but on the same principle I take it that it would be perfectly alright for me to go chopping down wind turbines should any crop up around here on the premise that they are ruining my visual environment?

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    Posted
  • Location: Rochester, Kent
  • Location: Rochester, Kent
    I absolutely agree with the verdict: we live in a country where free speech and protest is a rapidly eroding right, and I would fight to protect this. By allowing the issue to become muddled with criminal damage we are in danger of allowing the Government to further restrict personal freedoms of protest under the guise of protecting society.

    This type of protest has been going on for years, and is used by all walks of life (e.g. Otis Ferry and the hunt supporters who broke into Parliament, various Fathers for Justice stunts, etc).

    As for criminal damage, I don't tend to think that painting 'Gordon' on a chimney very obviously and in the cold light of day, with a stated political purpose in mind (after tipping off the media) is the same thing as harming personal property for no ideological purpose. Criminal damage is wrong, but this is not the same thing and, as such, our judicial system recognises that.

    In addition, we in the West spend an awful lot of time destroying civilians' personal property in other parts of the world and, via capitalism, have led to hideous acts of vandalism on a worldwide scale.

    I am heartened to see such concern on the part of NW members for the moral wellbeing of our country, but wonder would they be showing so much interest were it not Greenpeace? I also wonder whether they would also have been tut-tutting at Mandela and the ANC, the students of Tiananmen Square, the Tibetan protesters and other activists who have used direct action to further their rightful cause....

    Cool - so if you're not doing your recycling bit, or leave the lights on when you are not in a room, say, you won't mind me painting the front of your house to highlight the issue. Ridiculous sentiment, of course, but you need to say and justify at what level it becomes unacceptable if you think that at this level it is acceptable.

    If direct action affects the individual is it therefore unacceptable?

    Being local to the incident in question (whilst most of you are not) and who has family who live very close to Kings North, I can assure you that whilst these six might be affable charming fellows, an awful lot who turned up the 'climate camp' were not. They came with tools which can only be descibed as weapons. For Pete's sake - Arthur Scargill turned up ... and I thought his beef was keeping the coal industry operating ....

    One can only surmise that Kent police (and other agencies) did a marvellous job in difficult situations - at a local (council tax) cost of some £millions - to keep the peace and allow these six to do what they did.

    If you agree that direct action that affects individual citizens is unacceptable then I'll fax you a copy of this years, and next years council tax bill where the cost of policing such direct action has affected me, my neighbours, and my family - in their pockets.

    EDIT: I guess the question is: where do you want to draw the line? As it happens, you are correct, in law, in that under the Criminal Damage Act 1971, the term'damage' is undefined and is left to the courts to exercise their common sense on a case-by-case basis. Which is what occured, here.

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
    Posted
  • Location: Colchester, Essex, UK (33m ASL)
  • Location: Colchester, Essex, UK (33m ASL)

    It does indeed open a HUGE can of worms eh?

    I think it set a precedent in law which may be regretted sooner rather than later, now we will have all sorts of groups who will use the honesty/lawful excuse clause to its greatest effect and cause damage to property under that umbrella. So I guess now it is ok for me to go to my local Town Hall or Highways Agency and smear mud or paint all over it because I honestly and with good excuse believe they are endangering local motorcyclists (other property) by not keeping the roads in good order and repair? I bet not. Conviction of criminal damage would follow swiftly without doubt regardless of what my defence was or who I called to testify. If a local factory is leaking contaminates into a local river even if it is ok'd by the local water board, its ok for me to daub slogans all over their front door now if I honestly and with lawful excuse believe it is harming the local marshes further down the river if I can prove say via Greenpeace or a local conservation group that damage is being done?

    And as laser says, if now a local wind farm spoils someone's view, or causes a nuisance to them, or a local groups, or maybe a mobile phone mast a group doesn't agree with, and believes it is causing ill health to them, they can now damage that mast and be protected under law if they say they did the act in honesty and believe they have a good excuse by bringing in a scientist who believes phone masts damage health?

    I do wonder also how much besides the £35,000 it cost the company, the court case was lost by I guess the CPS, which means taxpayers money was used too? So that case wasn't just about the policing and the costs there to the local community, nor the paint on the chimneys, it was about the court fees too. In future, will it mean the CPS will be less inclined to bring to court a group who causes criminal damage to a property because this case went against them in this instance? In my view it has set a nasty precedent which will I think backfire.

    If I am seeing this law wrong or how the outcome of this case has undermined the Criminal Damage Law and made it 10 times harder to police such acts in a wider field than just the Greenpeace case, please someone correct me? Also, how do you define "lawful excuse"?

    I do though think that Roo's idea of naming the chimneys anyway could be a good idea lol.

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
    It does indeed open a HUGE can of worms eh?

    I think it set a precedent in law which may be regretted sooner rather than later, now we will have all sorts of groups who will use the honesty/lawful excuse clause to its greatest effect and cause damage to property under that umbrella. So I guess now it is ok for me to go to my local Town Hall or Highways Agency and smear mud or paint all over it because I honestly and with good excuse believe they are endangering local motorcyclists (other property) by not keeping the roads in good order and repair? I bet not.

    Actually, didn't some chap do something like this - well spread dung on the council offices? I'm sure he did. I don't know what happened to him though - I wonder, after LG's comment, if he was sectioned :doh:

    Conviction of criminal damage would follow swiftly without doubt regardless of what my defence was or who I called to testify. If a local factory is leaking contaminates into a local river even if it is ok'd by the local water board, its ok for me to daub slogans all over their front door now if I honestly and with lawful excuse believe it is harming the local marshes further down the river if I can prove say via Greenpeace or a local conservation group that damage is being done?

    And as laser says, if now a local wind farm spoils someone's view, or causes a nuisance to them, or a local groups, or maybe a mobile phone mast a group doesn't agree with, and believes it is causing ill health to them, they can now damage that mast and be protected under law if they say they did the act in honesty and believe they have a good excuse by bringing in a scientist who believes phone masts damage health?

    I do wonder also how much besides the £35,000 it cost the company, the court case was lost by I guess the CPS, which means taxpayers money was used too? So that case wasn't just about the policing and the costs there to the local community, nor the paint on the chimneys, it was about the court fees too. In future, will it mean the CPS will be less inclined to bring to court a group who causes criminal damage to a property because this case went against them in this instance? In my view it has set a nasty precedent which will I think backfire.

    If I am seeing this law wrong or how the outcome of this case has undermined the Criminal Damage Law and made it 10 times harder to police such acts in a wider field than just the Greenpeace case, please someone correct me? Also, how do you define "lawful excuse"?

    I do though think that Roo's idea of naming the chimneys anyway could be a good idea lol.

    Surely there six people faced the law and the jury decided as they did. Same would apply in the examples you wonder about? people are fee to do things, they just have to face the consequences.

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    Posted
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts
    I think it set a precedent in law which may be regretted sooner rather than later

    Actually, it sets nothing of the sort: many cases have been acquitted in the last 20 years:

    'In the last 12 years, court cases involving GM crops and nuclear, chemical and arms companies collapsed after protesters said they had followed their consciences and had been trying to prevent a greater crime.

    · 2000 Norwich jury found Greenpeace director Lord Melchett and 27 activists not guilty of causing criminal damage to field of GM crops

    · 2000 Five Greenpeace volunteers found not guilty of criminal damage after occupying incinerator

    · 1999 Three women cleared of causing £80,000 damage to Trident nuclear submarine computer equipment

    · 1996 Liverpool jury acquitted four women who caused £1.5m damage to Hawk fighter jet at British Aerospace factory'

    from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008...orthclimatecamp

    Also see http://news.realfathersforjustice.org/index.php?itemid=100

    and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7266567.stm

    This was a standard direct action protest. Those involved were taken to court and legally acquitted, as so many others have been. No more, no less.

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
    Cool - so if you're not doing your recycling bit, or leave the lights on when you are not in a room, say, you won't mind me painting the front of your house to highlight the issue. Ridiculous sentiment, of course, but you need to say and justify at what level it becomes unacceptable if you think that at this level it is acceptable.

    Herein lies the problem. The main problem with this protest, IMO, was the fact that it was unlikely ever to achieve anything meaningful in terms of the protest, while causing £35,000 or whatever to be spent cleaning the tower when it could easily have been better spent elsewhere. However, I take the point about whether it was really "damaging"- you could argue that painting "Gordon" on a tower is not the same thing as spraying a bucketload of foul language around a train station for instance.

    We have to be careful as to how far we allow such protests to go though. I recall some environmentalists at Lancaster used to deliberately press the "Wait" button at pedestrian crossings without actually crossing them, so as to hold up traffic unnecessarily and "teach those evil motorists a lesson". A large step up from that would be deflating hundreds of car tyres in protest against those "evil motorists", on the "lawful" grounds that the cost of deflating the tyres is less than the "combined environmental and social cost" of the cars beind driven by their owners.

    I don't go along with the "the law is the law" approach- what's legal isn't always right, and many laws have grey areas, whereupon it depends on how you interpret the law in question.

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    Posted
  • Location: Rochester, Kent
  • Location: Rochester, Kent
    I don't go along with the "the law is the law" approach- what's legal isn't always right, and many laws have grey areas, whereupon it depends on how you interpret the law in question.

    This is where British law comes into it's own. Criminal 'damage' law simply doesn't define 'damage' It is up for a court to determine what constitutes 'damage' I haven't read the details but I'd imagine some part of the defence for Greenpeace was to argue that what they did, did not amount to damage so there isn't really a case to answer. If they didn't, then almost certainly they'd have implied it I reckon (might stop the judge from directing the jury)

    It's all about where to draw the line, methinks. Where that line should be is the crux of the matter, in my opinion. If one thinks a cause is just does that justify the action? Perhaps, but a jury must agree with that cause, which is what has happened. We still need to draw lines, though.

    EDIT: Read the details - the defence was based on protecting property of a higher value (planet earth) which constitutes a legal excuse. Clever.

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    Guest Shetland Coastie

    Simple question. If you or I did that and we didn't have fancy pants scientists speaking up for us would we get away with it? I doubt it very much. As they often say, one rule for some.....

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    Posted
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield
  • Weather Preferences: Any Extreme
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield

    Why didn't they just use a banner for Christs sake.

    I think the cases roo quotes shows the problem. Once getting away with damage they feel free to do more.

    Arthur Scargill turned up at the protest well he only does something if there's something in it for him.

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    Posted
  • Location: South Yorkshire
  • Location: South Yorkshire
    Why didn't they just use a banner for Christs sake.

    Why didn't they just fall and twist an ankle or something,then wait for a horse and cart ambulance to take them to a cold and dark solar or wind powered hospital? Seems that's what they're hankering for.

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