Eight Acquitted After Rolls Royce Blockade
A followup to a previous post:
Eight people were found not guilty by Derby Magistrates Court today. They were arrested after blocking the main gates of Rolls Royce marine power operations limited with two quarter of a ton concrete blocks for several hours in April this year. Two other protestors who blocked a second gate were found guilty.
The acquitted protesters had attached themselves to the concrete blocks which had been positioned outside the gates of the Rolls Royce plant near the centre of Derby. They were protesting against the part the factory plays in manufacturing components which are used to power Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system. The site houses a facility for turning highly enriched uranium into fuel rods as well as a nuclear reactor for testing. The Rolls Royce site is a protected site designated under the 2005 serious organised crime and police act.
The activists were all originally arrested under the serious organised crime and police act, but were subsequently charged with aggravated trespass when it transpired that the Derby police had made a mistake about the perimeter of the designated area. The activists were found not guilty after they presented evidence which showed that the Rolls Royce land they were on may form part of the public highway. The trial lasted for five days and eight of the defendants represented themselves.
Peter Lux from Norfolk who was one of the acquitted defendants, said:
“Rolls Royce had painted a red line on the road around factory entrance to stop legitimate protest outside the gates but it merely led to confusion among the police and the crown prosecution service about its meaning. Their attempts to stop legitimate protests backfired and we have now been acquitted of blockading the site.”