GM verdict is significant victory

17 October 2001

GM verdict is ‘significant victory’

By Adrienne Francis

THE criminal offence of aggravated trespass is under scrutiny after a High Court judge overturned the conviction of an environmental campaigner.

A number of impending trials involving protestors accused of destroying genetically modified crops may now be scrapped, reports The Guardian.

Aggravated trespass is an offence included in the Public Order Act of 1994 to allow the arrest and removal of protestors interfering with road-builders.

But the High Court judge said anti-GM protestors shouldnt be convicted unless someone working the land could be intimidated by their action.

As a result, environmental campaigner Rowan Tilly had her conviction for pulling up GM oilseed rape in Cambridgeshire thrown out of court.

The Guardian says the decision, which also cleared a number of other protestors, leaves the Crown Prosecution Service with a serious problem.

Attempts to use an offence of aggravated trespass as a quick way of “snuffing out” protests will not be allowed, says the paper.

The Daily Telegraph says the ruling “will make it more difficult to prosecute demonstrators who destroy experimental plantings.


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