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(en) Britain, SchNEWS 471, Friday 29th October, 2004 - PLAIN TEXT

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 29 Oct 2004 09:17:04 +0200 (CEST)


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WAKE UP! WAKE UP IT'S YER DIRTY BRIEFS... SchNEWS
HARASSMENT LIFE SCIENCES
'Protection From Harassment Act' used to screw Animal Rights Protester
"This is serious as it means that any multinational can claim to be
'harassed' by peaceful protests, throw money at a greedy lawyer, get
an injunction and then cripple people with costs. This affects all of
us." - Lynn Sawyer.
Lynn Sawyer, a midwife and animal rights activist has been landed
with a bill for over £200,000 and faces losing her home. Her
crime? Not defending a court case!

This comes from an injunction under terms of the Protection from
Harassment Act against Lynn and other people and groups to stop
them protesting against the vivisectors Huntingdon Life Sciences
(HLS). Because Lynn did not attend the court case in person to
defend herself, the judge automatically imposed a "default
judgement" against her. As a result she is liable to pay the court
costs if sued by HLS - she also has to pick up court costs of
anybody else named on the injunction!

She has been landed with a legal bill for £205,551.23 by
Lawson-Cruttenden Solicitors who are acting on behalf of HLS. This
bunch of greedy solicitors specialise in the Harassment Act and
charge ridiculous amounts of money - they charge £400 an hour for
solicitors fees, this includes time when they aren't even working.
For example, for attending one court hearing, they charged £500
for 1 hour 15 minutes for travel and waiting - £500 for going to
and from work and hanging about doing fuck all! That's more than
most people earn in a 40 hour week! (A total of £7316.67 was
charged by the solicitors for travel and waiting). They also
charge £100 per hour for an office junior, even though they
probably pay them £50 a day. When you count up numerous court
appearances charging £400 an hour, plus interest, it comes to a
nearly a quarter of a million pounds.

This extortionate bill she has been given is for everyone named on
the injunction - twelve people and groups in total. She isn't just
being billed for the costs of one twelfth of the case - which you
might expect to be fair and reasonable. No, the liability is
deemed "joint and several" meaning that they don't need to divide
up the costs between the defendants - they can just pursue one
person. But, it gets even worse, Lynn didn't contest the
injunction - she just accepted that it would limit her right to
protest against HLS. Other people decided to fight the injunction
in court and are taking it to full trial. The totally bonkers
situation, which shows that the legal system is completely
deranged and has nothing to do with justice, is that Lynn is also
liable to pay the costs of these cases! You did read that right -
something that Lynn had absolutely nothing to do with (the appeal
hearing) and she has to foot the bill for!

Lynn now faces losing her home, as she may be forced to sell it,
to cover the costs incurred by Huntingdon Life Sciences' attempts
to curb peaceful, lawful protest not only by her but also other
people.

Animal Treatment

The Protection from Harassment Act was originally touted in the
media as being designed to protect women from stalkers, but it was
so widely drafted (with the help of Lawson-Cruttenden Solicitors,
who boast about helping to draft the bill) that companies have
been able to use it to harass protesters! In fact the first use of
the Act was against animal rights protesters (see SchNEWS 126).

The Act is used to silence and stifle a whole load of peaceful law
abiding activities by creating exclusion zones around premises.
The way the Act is drafted means that all a solicitor needs to do
is present some "evidence" before a judge - without any of the
defendants being present and they usually grant the injunction. At
a later date the defendants may attend court and fight the
injunction, but the injunction has already been granted and it
appears that it's up to the defendants to overturn the injunction
rather than the company to prove the injunction case. The
injunction in the case of HLS was also made against the Animal
Liberation Front, an organisation that doesn't really exist! The
original injunction placed against the people referred to a number
of actions, such as criminal damage to employees' properties,
which have never been proved to be linked to anyone, but have been
reported on the SHAC website. The Harassment Act is using guilt by
association as a legal means for stifling protest.

Lynn has lost all faith in the legal process: "I believe that in
the current climate there is no point in even trying to campaign
legally as the goal posts move on a daily basis and that the most
peaceful, innocuous gesture is interpreted as violent and
threatening by the law... Writing letters has met with similar
accusations, as an elderly Quaker gentleman who wrote the most
excruciatingly polite letters to drug companies was threatened
with arrest and intimidated by the police."

So what has Lynn actually done that is so threatening to HLS that
it can be termed harassment? She has climbed a fence and,
according to the solicitor presenting the case "sat on top of it
for 20 minutes before being coaxed down by the police". Other
actions have included trespass, abstracting a fraction of a pence
of electricity by making a phone call in HLS's offices (she sent a
cheque to HLS to reimburse them for the cost, but this was
refused) and drinking a bottle of beer from the HLS hospitality
suite in Brighton. She also blocked the A1 with a tripod and was
attacked by an off duty police officer, sustaining a smashed
femur, a severe laceration to her face and the loss of over a
litre of blood. Surgeons spent five hours putting her face and leg
back together. Of this she says "The really perverse, sick and
twisted thing is that HLS through their lawyer Timothy
Lawson-Cruttenden are actually claiming that an incident in which
I was the subject of a vicious unprovoked attack which nearly cost
me my life caused them, a multinational corporation,
'harassment'!"

The use of the Protection from Harassment Act has been used
extensively against people campaigning for animal rights. However,
it has done nothing whatsoever to limit the amount of 'harassment'
caused - after all, if you are engaged in activities for which you
may get sent to prison, having an injunction against you is hardly
going to stop you, especially if you've never been caught. What
the Act has done is to target vocal campaigners. The act has also
been used against anti-GM crops campaigns (see SchNEWS 436).

Lynn says "I envisage a situation where bailiffs are 'harassed' by
protesters trying to save trees, a worker is 'harassed' by a
striker holding up a banner, the meat industry is 'harassed' by
someone campaigning for veganism, a homophobe is 'harassed' by a
gay rights demo and a travel company claim 'harassment' after a
visitation by the Disabled Action Network."

* For legal information regarding the Harassment Act and a whole
host of other useful legal information see the excellent
www.freebeagles.org

* SHAC - the campaign against HLS continues despite legal
harassment. www.shac.net 0845 458 0630

* If you feel you are being harassed and can afford £400 per hour,
contact Lawson-Cruttenden Solicitors timlc@lawson-cruttenden.co.uk
(the gent who handled the case) 020 7405 0833

* Check on www.indymedia.org.uk for updates

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NEW BOOK - 'SchNEWS At Ten' OUT NOW!!!

Finally after a year in production, and a decade to make, the
SchNEWS at 10 book is here. Covering the last ten years of direct
action from the M11 link road protests to the war in Iraq. And
seeing as it's coming up to that festival of consumerism that is
Christmas, why don't you buy the SchNEWS at 10 book for your inner
anarchist, and be guilt free in your spending.

To order a copy send a cheque payable to Justice for £9 (£7 + £2
P&P), or order the book in your local bookshop ISBN-09529748 8 6

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'CONTRICK'

Workers employed by construction giant Laing O'Rourke are refusing
the company's new pay and conditions deal. The company, with a
turnover of £1.74 billion in 2003, claims that they "employ
qualified, talented and motivated staff who have the 'can do'
attitude and are innovative in their thinking."

But the new contract or 'contrick' as it has been renamed by
workers includes features such as slashing workers' pay in half.
Pay will be subsidised by bonuses but only at the company's
discretion! Holiday pay can be cut by £20 a day and workers who
are off sick will have to provide a medical certificate, even for
one day's absence.

Employees describe having been split into small groups and asked
to sign the contract, without seeing it first, and have been told
that they have six weeks to sign or face the sack. Construction
Union UCATT has sided with management, urging workers to sign the
contract. It has made no attempt to ballot its members on it.

On Wednesday, workers attended a meeting called by RMT member and
Joint Sites Committee activist Steve Hedley. Workers from several
Laing O'Rourke sites attended and expressed their dissent against
the contract. Workers who have already signed the contract are
withdrawing from it. Hedley blasted the contract for its focus on
'discretionary bonuses' decided at the whim of management.

He said "What the hell is a discretionary bonus? How can your
union sign up to something that your boss may decide whether or
not he is going to pay? If we're strong and act together we can
stop this. We are the ones who are doing the job".

Recently workers at the Channel Tunnel Rail Link site at Kings
Cross requested the presence of GMB (major general workers union)
representative Steve Kelly, but when he tried to discuss the
contract with the managers he was thrown off the site. This makes
a mockery of national agreements in the construction industry as
well as laws which allows workers access to, and the freedom to
chose, their own representatives. The GMB has advised its members
not to sign the contract until they have been allowed to see it in
full.

At the Kings Cross site 100 have already walked off the job in
support of trade union activist Steve Hedley, sacked earlier this
month, and pickets halt all traffic onto the site. Workers at the
site have elected themselves a shop stewards committee -
independent of any union - to organise resistance to the contrick,
and are urging all other building workers to refuse to sign it.
Laing O'Rourke can expect coordinated walk-outs, wildcat strikes
and other actions if anyone gets sacked for refusing to sign.

'Neutral' people are needed to help with leafleting, banner
hanging, or other actions as workers are vulnerable to retaliation
from their employers. Awareness raising is a priority now, as
Laing O'Rourke are sensitive to bad publicity which will
jeapordise their chances of getting big public contracts in the
future. More support of picket-lines and strikes may be needed
when/if they start springing up. For more contact - Steve Hedley,
07985 438 301

* Tesco, Sainsbury's, and British Airways are leading the
corporate fight against sick pay. Tesco propose to cut sick pay
for the first three days staff are off work. Sainsbury's and BA
have been quick to follow, and if the proposals go through other
businesses will surely follow to stay 'competitive'. Trade Union
USDAW are tamely going along with the scheme.
www.workersliberty.org/node/view/2252

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Remember, remember...

"If we in the media were less willing to play the terrorists'
game, we could make an important contribution to the war against
them... If we are really serious about being at war, the media
needs to do some soul-searching about our role in that war."-
Columnist Helle Dale.

It should not come as a surprise to SchNEWS readers to learn that
this was the conclusion of an article in an American newspaper -
in this case the Washington Times of September 30.

What is more disturbing is that the comments were the result of a
secretive meeting of "European and American policy-makers" held
just ten miles from Brighton at Wilton Park, near Steyning.

Dale also revealed that the Wilton Park discussions had concluded:
"We can fight a high-tech war against the terrorists, using all
the means of modern technology, from satellites to track cell
phones to cyberspace policing to shut down websites. If we in the
West are not to hang separately, if we are in a war, surely we
should cooperate."

Funnily enough this meeting took place two weeks before
Indymedia's servers were removed by FBI agents as part of an
international move said to also involve the Italian and Swiss
authorities.

This insight into what is on their rather sinister agenda provides
yet another good reason for mobilizing against their next
gathering in Steyning on November 5-6th.

This conference, entitled 'International Rule Making for Global
Capital Markets', is being held in association with The European
Financial Forum, Federation of European Securities Exchanges,
Paris Europlace and Deutsches Aktieninstitut and includes speakers
from big business and the IMF. Details of the conference were
bizarrely removed from the Wilton Park website just 24 hours after
the protest was advertised online, but not before activists had
copied and pasted the lot!

*Meet 2.30pm, Fri. Nov. 5, Playing Fields, Vicarage Lane, Steyning
(opp. St Andrew's Church next to Community Centre).

*From Brighton meet 12.30pm War Memorial, Old Steine. 07837 942373
www.freewebs.com/shuttheg8

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THAI MASSACRE

"We have never seen this sort of torture in Thai history before.
It is just like gassing them. It was a deliberate massacre." -
Ahmad Somboon Bualuang, Songkhla University

On Monday, at least seventy-eight demonstrators died in Thailand's
strife-torn Muslim-majority southern province of Pattani, which is
struggling for autonomy. Six were shot dead by cops during a
2000-strong rally outside a police station; the others suffocated
after 1,300 protesters were arrested, beaten, packed into trucks
and driven for hours to the provincial capital.

Basic civil rights in 'Buddhist' Thailand are under threat from an
increasingly authoritarian government which imposed martial law in
January. With an election looming, Prime Minister Thaksin is under
pressure to clamp down in an area where his White House bosses
think Al Qaeda type militants are hiding away. When asked why so
many had died on the journey, Thaksin was dismissive: "This is
typical," he replied. "It's about bodies made weak from fasting.
Nobody hurt them."

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EDOcentric

Brighton arms firm EDO had a nice surprise this week - a load of
cement dumped outside their entrance. This follows having their
walls smeared with blood and a load of manure dumped outside to
remind them that it isn't very nice to make bomb release
mechanisms for various warplanes that were used to attack Iraq
www.smashedo.bpec.org There's a meeting about EDO next Wednesday
(3) at the Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton 7:30 pm

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SchNEWS in brief

* Corporate Watch will be talking about the new film The
Corporation (which comes out this Friday) on Sun, 5pm at the
Cambridge Arts Picturehouse and 15th Nov, 7pm at the Cowley Club,
12 London Road, Brighton

* There's a demonstration outside Tinsley House asylum seeker
Removal Centre, Gatwick Airport, this Saturday (30) 2pm, 01273
540717 for transport and other details
brightonunemployedcentre2000@yahoo.co.uk

* The Brazilian newspaper 'Brasil de Facto' set up at the World
Social Forum in Porto Alegre in 2003 is in serious financial
trouble. It's one of the countries only independent left
newspapers if you can help www.basildefato.com.br

* Stop the Assault on Fallujah: demo against the looming invasion
next Sun (7) Meet 2pm, Parliament Square 07818 651 124
stoptheattacks@fastmail.fm

* There's an Anarchist Dayschool in Glasgow next Sat (6) 12 noon
onwards @ the Kinning Park Centre. www.glasgow-autonomy.org

* Last year Worthing anti-war protesters burnt an effigy of George
W Bush on the beach. Who will it be this year? Get along Worthing
Bonfire Special next Sat (6) 7.30pm outside Castle Tavern,
Newlands Road (near Co-op supermarket).

* Nov 6 is the International Day of Action to Ban Uranium Weapons.
The Campaign Against Depleted Uranium are organising a meeting in
Manchester next Wed (3) 0161 273 8292, www.cadu.org.uk

* 'Beyond Oil: the oil curse and solutions for an oil-free future'
a new booklet dishing the dirt on the oil economy's repressive
regimes and its contribution to global resource conflicts and
dangerous climate change. Send one quid to 16b Cherwell St,
Oxford, OX4 1BG No New Oil www.nonewoil.org

* PayDay are organising a meeting called 'Refusing to Kill', this
Sat (30) 2-5pm with Israeli refuseniks and a discussion of Gulf
War syndrome, at Crossroads Womens' Centre 230A Kentish Town Road,
London, Kentish Town tube, www.refusingtokill.net 0207 2094751

* Don't forget its World Vegan Day on 1st November - yum, pass the
rice cake.

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..and finally...

A Judge who happily sent May Day protestors to prison, comfirming
his reputation as the 'Hanging Judge Of Horseferry'- has quit -
after being accused of paying for sex with rent boys.

Judge Roger Davies resigned after spending the last year on leave,
which must have been a chore on his £90,000 a year wage. Due to
his early retirement, not only has the investigation which would
have brought out the sordid details has been conveniently stopped,
but he's also still in line for an index-linked pension worth
£45,000 a year. Add to that a lump sum award of just over £100,000
and he's got himself a nice little pension deal worth around £1
million.

Davies was due to try more protesters nicked in May 2003. One of
those he bailed, a young Brighton man, said "I was expecting him
to come down hard on me but he just smiled at me over his glasses;
in hindsight I find that quite worrying."

It seems Davies has done very well, relying on the old boy network
to clean up after his indiscretions with the young boy network.

This comes only four months after another judge, David Selwood,
was allowed to keep his pension after being convicted of
downloading child porn. In 1997 Selwood sent three editors of
Green Anarchist magazine to prison, after they were found guilty
of publishing information liable to 'incite' others to commit
'criminal damage'. Selwood described the magazine as "The most
contemptuous document I have ever seen in my entire career." What
about the kiddy porn he'd been looking at?!?

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Disclaimer

SchNEWS warns all readers that soiling yourselves with
multinationals can get you taken to the cleaners with a huge bill
for dirty Briefs... Honest!

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INFORMATION FOR ACTION - IF YOU LIKE IT PASS IT ON...

What's On? Check out out Party and Protest guide at
www.schnews.org.uk/pap/guide.htm - it's updated every week, has
sections on regular events, local events, protest camps and
more...

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HOW TO UN/SUBSCRIBE TO SCHNEWS-L

To unsubscribe, go to the website and follow the instructions
there, or send a message to webmaster@schnews.org.uk with subject
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To subscribe, go to the website or email webmaster@schnews.org.uk
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SchNEWS At Ten It costs £9 INC. p&p per book, further
details as below.

PEACE DE RESISTANCE It costs £7 INC. p&p per book, further
details as below...this one comes with a free multimedia CD too!
SchNEWS Of The World - issues 301-350 for £5!! Past books are
goin' cheap... SchNEWSround issues 51-100 - SOLD OUT; SchNEWS
annual issues 101-150 - a snip at £2; Survival Handbook issues
151-200
- a snip at £2; SchQUALL issues 201-250 - sold out;
Yearbook 2001 issues 251-300 - bargain £3. All prices inc. p&p.
Cheques to 'Justice?' - Honest!

In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles,
photos, cartoons, subverts, a "yellow pages" list of contacts,
comedy etc. You can also order the books from a bookshop or
library.

Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9
issues)or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's
subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for
"originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is
post-free to prisoners.

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SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
Phone: 01273 685913 (NO FAX)
Email: schnews@brighton.co.uk Web: www.schnews.org.uk

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