20 November 2001
GM protesters cleared by jury

By FWi staff

A JURY has cleared environmental protesters charged with damaging genetically modified crops in Herefordshire.

Barbara Charvet, 59 and Jim Rideout, 26, were found not guilty of criminal damage to two acres of maize at Preston Wynne, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Charvet, from Michaelchurch Escley, Herefordshire, and Ridout, from Orcop, Herefordshire, said they had exhausted all channels to stop the trial going ahead.

They told the jury at Worcester Crown Court that they destroyed the crop on 5 August 2000 to protect the public from cross-pollination of conventional crops.

The farm was owned by the then Ministry of Agriculture and leased to farm consultants ADAS.

A spokesman for the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs insisted after the verdict that the farm-scale trials were safe.

The Telegraph says this verdict will put pressure on the governments policy over farm-scale GM trials.