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Stansted 15 Summonsed to Court on Further Protest Charges

A group of 15 activists who were convicted under counter terrorism legislation for stopping a deportation flight have been summonsed back to court over the same incident.

The Trial Of The Stansted 15

The activists, known as the Stansted 15, cut through the airport’s perimeter fence and locked themselves together around a Boeing 767 jet chartered by the Home Office to transport people from UK detention centres for repatriation to Africa.

They were all found guilty of an aviation security offence – brought in after the Lockerbie bombing – and sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court to community orders and suspended jail terms.

All 15 have now been summonsed to Colchester Magistrates court on April 15 on a charge of aggravated trespass over the same incident.

Raj Chada, Partner at Hodge Jones & Allen, who represents all of the Stansted 15, said: “In all my years of practising I have never known the CPS to be so vindictive, malicious and hell-bent on persecuting a group of defendants. This prosecution is wrong on so many levels and is impossible for our clients to understand.

“They have already been prosecuted for this offence but now face a potential trial again. This is little more than mental torture and is unacceptable. How can this be in the public interest to waste tax-payers money on further prosecutions when they have already been, in our view wrongly, convicted? I have called on the CPS to do drop this matter immediately in the interests of justice.”

The Stansted 15 said in a statement: “This latest threat of prosecution is cruel and vindictive. After spending well over half a million pounds on prosecuting and convicting us of a piece of draconian terror-related legislation, to spend more money on trying us for yet another offence isn’t just wasting money, it’s playing cold-hearted games with our lives.

“This malicious prosecution is a window in on the kind of psychological punishment people seeking asylum in this country face from the Home Office every single day. Our current immigration system is vicious – that’s why we will not stop standing together to challenge it.”

The Stansted 15 were all convicted of the intentional disruption of services at an aerodrome, contrary to section 1 (2) (b) of the Aviation and Maritime Security Act 1990.

The defendants, aged between 27 and 44, are appealing against their conviction over the 2017 incident.

They are: Helen Brewer, 29; Lyndsay Burtonshaw, 28; Nathan Clack, 30; Laura Clayson, 28; Melanie Evans, 35; Joseph McGahan, 35; Benjamin Smoke, 27; Jyotsna Ram, 33; Nicholas Sigsworth, 29; Melanie Strickland, 35; Alistair Tamlit, 30; Edward Thacker, 29; Emma Hughes, 38; May McKeith, 33 and 44-year-old Ruth Potts.

Thacker, Strickland and Tamlit were sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court to nine months in prison suspended for 18 months.

The 12 other defendants were given 12-month community orders.