20 April 2000
Jury undecided in Melchett trial

A JURY has failed to decide whether environmental protestors who wrecked genetically modified crops committed a criminal offence.

After a 12-day trial and sitting for seven hours, the jury at Norwich Crown Court was undecided whether 28 Greenpeace campaigners caused criminal damage on a dawn raid on a field of GM maize.

Earlier, the jury had acquitted all 28 defendants of theft relating to the same raid on William Binghams Walnut Tree Farm in Ling, Norfolk.

Judge David Mellor gave the Crown Prosecution Service 14 days to decide whether it would seek a retrial.

The defendants admit taking part in the raid, but say they had a “lawful excuse”, to prevent contamination of organic crops by GM pollen.

Outside the court, defendant and Greenpeace executive director Lord Melchett said he was pleased the Crown could not prove the charge of criminal damage.

He said this should send a strong message to Tony Blair, and said if there was another trial, Greenpeace would defend what it did.

Mr Bingham hopes for a retrial, reportsThe Times.

  • The Express, 20/04/2000, page 6
  • The Daily Mail, 20/04/2000, page 35
  • The Daily Telegraph, 20/04/2000, page 8 The Times, 20/04/2000, page 11
  • The Guardian, 20/04/2000, page 2
  • The Independent, 20/04/2000, page 1
  • Financial Times, 20/04/2000, page 2