Stratford Magistrates’ Court witnessed the unusual trial of eight protestors, all of whom attempted to prevent traffic reaching the Defence and Security Equipment International arms fair at the Excel Centre in September 2015. The eight protestors targeted the traffic in an attempt to prevent the unlawful sale and export of weapons and law enforcement equipment which would be used against civilian populations overseas.

The result was all eight being charged with obstruction of various stretches of highway in and around London’s Excel Centre. Ian Brownhill of No5 Chambers defended three protestors who laid peacefully in the road, inside a police cordon. Having chained themselves together they were eventually cut loose by the Ministry of Defence Police.

Brownhill, defending, argued that there was effectively a justice gap. The protestors had a credible belief that offences and transactions were taking place which contravened international, European and English law.

During the trial Mr Brownhill called the Director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy who explained to the Court how Bahraini troops used weaponised tear gas against peaceful protestors. And, how Saudia Arabian troops had been deployed in British made armoured vehicles to put down protestors.

Today all of the protestors were acquitted on the basis of their belief, backed by credible evidence, that crimes were being committed at the arms fair.

Ian Brownhill has defended in a number of high profile protest cases, including the recent acquittal of academic Dr Lisa Mckenzie and in protests by Occupy, at the Royal Exchange, in Trafalgar Square and at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet. Brownhill also acts in civil claims arising out of policing of protests and has a continuing caseload of civil harassment claims which involve the police and freedom of expression.

Ian was instructed by Hodge Jones and Allen Solicitors.

Coverage of the case can be found here:

The Independent

The Gaurdian