IN APRIL, A JUDGE GRANTED DEFENDANTS FROM
GENETIX SNOWBALL A TRIAL, NOW,
MONSANTO WANT TO END THAT RIGHT
In April defendants from the genetiX snowball campaign were granted the right to a full trial. Now Monsanto are appealing that decision. Join us outside the court to show your opposition to genetically modified (GM) crops and to celebrate our successes.
MONDAY 8TH / TUESDAY 9TH NOVEMBER*
9.30 AM ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE, THE STRAND, LONDON.
* ESSENTIAL to confirm date. Call 0161 834 0295 from 5th Nov. Please bring banners, costume, song and smiles. You may wish to attend court in the public gallery too.
FAIR HEARING FOR SNOWBALL - FULL TRIAL FOR GENETICS
On July 4th last year five women openly and peacefully dug up genetically modified plants at a trial site in Oxfordshire. They informed Monsanto, the owners of the plants, and the farmer who owned the land that they intended to uproot the GM plants. The Environment Agency were asked to collect the bagged up plants and to destroy them as a biohazard. The police were informed of the peaceful nature of genetiX snowball actions.
The five women were arrested but released without charge. Ten
days later Monsanto served injunctions on them and a claim for unlimited damages.
These prevent the five from uprooting or interfering with Monsanto¹s crops or encouraging or conspiring with others to do the same. In September last year, prior to the fourth genetiX snowball action Monsanto extended the injunction to include the campaign¹s press liaison (who had never even touched the crops) and other 'members' of genetiX snowball.
At the High Court on April 20th Justice Klevan decided that the defendants had the right to a full trial. Monsanto have appealed that decision and there will be an appeal hearing on November 8th/9th . Monsanto say that a full trial is unnecessary as there is no defence to their claim and that permanent injunctions should be issued against the defendants immediately.
We believe that our action was justified as it was in the public interest to remove the GM crops. A full trial will allow experts to testify at court to the dangers of genetic modification.
At the Appeal hearing on November 8/9th three Court of Appeal judges will decide if the rights of defendants under the Civil Law are equivalent to those under the Criminal Law. Does an equivalent defence to lawful excuse exist in Civil Law?. If the judges decide not then Corporations will be able to choose a justice system favourable to themselves at the expense of us all.
Contact: genetiX snowball, One World Centre, 6 Mount Street,
Manchester, M2 5NS. Tel: 0161 834 0295 Browse: www.gn.apc.org/pmhp/gs
'precisely because I do not have the beautiful
words I need, I call upon my acts to speak to you'
Email: Kathryn Tulip firstname.lastname@example.org
A Campaign of Nonviolent Civil Responsibility
One World Centre
6 Mount Street
Manchester M2 5NS
Tel:0161 834 0295 Fax: 0161 834 8187
26 November 1999
GM protesters face jail under court ruling
By Valerie Elliott, Countryside Editor
Protesters will be jailed if they damage any genetically modified crop trials run by Monsanto, under a court order obtained by the biotechnology company yesterday.
The company won a permanent injunction in the Court of Appeal preventing campaigners from disrupting their trials and banning the anti-GM campaign group Genetix Snowball from encouraging others to damage or destroy GM crops.
Under the terms of the order, protesters and organisers of Genetix Snowball will be jailed if they are caught damaging Monsanto's trials. But last night the protesters pledged to fight the decision.
They are to petition the House of Lords on the ground that they have been denied the right to a fair trial. They are even prepared to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights because they believe that Monsanto is using the civil courts to bypass the criminal justice system.
Last night they were also considering the establishment of a new anti-GM campaign group that would be outside the terms of the injunction.
Monsanto was nevertheless delighted with the decision and urged anti-GM groups to enter a dialogue with the biotechnology companies instead of taking the law into their own hands. Ann Foster, director of public affairs, said: "Acts of deliberate vandalism achieve nothing and shouldn't be condoned. By pulling up GM crops, protesters are depriving us of all the answers which companies like Monsanto are being asked to provide."
But the campaigners were furious that the Appeal Court judges would not listen to their arguments that the uprooting of GM trial crops was justified and in the public interest because of the dangers of cross-pollination.
The three judges, Lords Justices Stuart-Smith, Mummery and Pill, decided that the defence could not succeed against Monsanto's legal rights under the law of trespass. They overturned a previous High Court decision not to grant a permanent injunction because the campaigners might have a valid defence.
The defendants, Rowan Tilly, Jo Hamilton, Kathryn Tulip, Melanie Jarman and Zoe Elford, were responsible for uprooting GM crops at Model Farm, near Watlington, Oxfordshire, in July last year. The sixth defendant, Andrew Wood, is the press officer for Genetix Snowball and issued press releases about the action.
The Court of Appeal accepted that the views of the protesters were genuinely and sincerely upheld. Lord Justice Stuart-Smith said: "There is nothing whatever unlawful in trying to persuade others and particularly the Government of the rightness of their views, provided they do not employ unlawful means to do so and provided they do not incite others to use unlawful means."
The judge added: "It is the breaking of the law, with its potential for martyrdom, which affords far better publicity than anything else. It seems to be implicit in their method of operating that they cannot attract sufficient attention to their cause without breaking the law.
"It would in my judgment be an astonishing proposition if the law were to recognise this as justification for law breaking."