A magistrate has labelled as ‘frivolous’ and ‘misconceived’ an appeal lodged by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to challenge the acquittals of eight people who protested at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2015 conference in London.
The eight, who were acquitted on 15 April 2016 following a trial at Stratford Magistrates’ Court, had successfully claimed that they had blocked entry to the conference in September 2015 on the basis that they believed that unlawful and illegal weapons were being promoted there.
Raj Chada and Adeela Khan, lawyers in the criminal defence team at Hodge Jones & Allen, represented five of the defendants: Isa al-Aali (21); Thomas Franklin (57); Javier Gárate Neidhardt (36); Luis Tinoco Torrejon (40); and Bram Vranken (25).
District judge Angus Hamilton said: “The CPS application repeatedly significantly misrepresents the contents of the judgment delivered at the end of the case and therefore seeks to challenge the decisions reached on wholly erroneous bases. The CPS application also muddles factual decisions with decisions of law and it is not open to the CPS to seek to appeal findings of fact.”
Raj Chada, partner and head of the Hodge Jones & Allen protest unit, said: “From shambles to farce, the CPS has received a slap in the face in its efforts to appeal this decision. It should abandon its application and concentrate on the real wrong-doing at DSEI – weapons that are being used to commit heinous crimes throughout the world.”
Adeela Khan, solicitor at Hodge Jones & Allen, said: “The CPS needs to start to respect the decisions of the UK courts, like this one and the High Court, which stripped diplomatic immunity from Prince Nasser of Bahrain, and pursue the real criminals instead of our clients.”
The DSEI event organisers said that 34,038 delegates attended the 2015 exhibition with 1,683 global defence and security organisations from 54 countries exhibiting. The next event takes place in September 2017.
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