2 June 1931

GMtrial by jury

THREE protesters charged with criminal damage to a field of genetically modified crops have won the right to trial by jury after a High Court test case.

Rowan Tilly, from Brighton; Sharyn Loche, from Hebden Bridge; and Tiffany Clelland, from Sheffield, are accused of damaging around 1ha (2.5 acres) of GM maize on Birchfields Farm, Sealand Road, Chester.

They were arrested on July 14, 2001, the day the offence was allegedly committed, along with Anita Brady, Yvonne Davies, and Guardian journalist George Monbiot. &#42

Ms Brady, Ms Davies and Mr Monbiot are also due to stand trial, but were not involved in the High Court proceedings on Tuesday (May 28).

The hearing took place after District Judge Todd at Prestatyn Magistrates Court earlier this year granted the wish of all six to be tried by a Crown Court jury.

At the High Court, Linda Knowles, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, attacked Judge Todds decision as "irrational" and claimed he had "erred in law".

Miss Knowles argued that the judge hadnt taken into account evidence that suggested the amount of damage caused to the crop was only £1000.

But Lord Justice Sedley, who heard the case with Mr Justice Gage, agreed with his argument that Judge Todd was "perfectly entitled" to come to the decision he did.