/ life imprisonment?

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paul mitchell - on 05 Feb 2019
17
Timmd on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to paul mitchell:

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Nigel Coe - on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to paul mitchell:

The crowdfunding site where you can contribute to the cost of their appeal: https://chuffed.org/project/end-deportations-charter-flight-action-trial-related-costs

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arch - on 05 Feb 2019
In reply to paul mitchell:

 

FTFY, even the capitalised No 1.

 

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Andy Johnson on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to paul mitchell:

https://www.theguardian.com/global/2019/feb/06/stansted-15-rights-campaigners-urge-judge-to-show-leniency

Stansted 15: judge says he will not jail activists

Judge says culpability of those convicted is not high enough to warrant immediate custody

Evidently the correct decision, in my opinion. They willingly broke the law and clearly expected to be punished, but the decision to charge them under terrorism-related laws was a disgrace.

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wercat on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to paul mitchell:

decent, principled and brave.

this is the terrible consequence of the dishonesty and subversion of justice by defining terrorism not by intent but by actions, however altruistically motivated.  The intent of the judiciary not to jail is a victory against the May-Terror-Hostile-environment regime

Post edited at 12:34
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The New NickB - on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to wercat:

The problem is the terrorism charge wasn’t laughed out of court and the next judge put in this situation might not be so sensible. The answer is to charge them with the right thing in the first place.

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off-duty - on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to Andy Johnson:

Terrorism related?

It's a stretch. It's the Maritime Security and Aviation Act I believe, which replaces similarly named acts that concerned airport security that existed before it.

The law doesn't mention terrorism, the ideology/intent of the perpetrators isn't considered in it, it wasn't investigated by counter terrorism police, it wasn't prosecuted by specialist terrorism lawyers.

It's a fairly serious offence with fairly serious potential sentencing, but then again it covers consequences that are fairly serious, and the jury convicted them beyond reasonable doubt.

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off-duty - on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

> The problem is the terrorism charge wasn’t laughed out of court and the next judge put in this situation might not be so sensible. The answer is to charge them with the right thing in the first place.

I think a charge that reflects the risk of danger they posed to the airport/other planes is pretty accurate.

There is a reason why people there are decent physical barriers to prevent people just wandering airside.

3
pasbury on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to Andy Johnson:

Thank God for an independent and intelligent judiciary.

1
Andy Johnson on 06 Feb 2019
In reply to off-duty:

They were originally charged with aggravated trespass, but the Attorney General (a politician, need I remind you) decided that the Maritime Security and Aviation Act 1990 should be used instead. Maybe you're correct that the act doesn't specifically mention terrorism, but it was brought into law specifically in response to the Lockerbie bombing and is clearly designed to address terrorism. Here's Cecil Parkinson introducing the second reading back in 1990:

"One of the hallmarks of this Government has been their determination to stand firm against the terrorist. We have never shied away from taking the measures necessary to crush the threat of terrorism—be it on the international stage or at home. This Bill will be another valuable weapon in the battle. It will help to combat international terrorism in the sky and at sea"

https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1990/jan/10/aviation-and-maritime-security-bill

I appreciate that you're a police officer and may we'll see these things differently, but to me this was a clear attempt to crush well-intentioned civil disobedience using an inappropriate set of charges.

Post edited at 22:45
7
Ridge - on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to Andy Johnson:

> I appreciate that you're a police officer and may we'll see these things differently, but to me this was a clear attempt to crush well-intentioned civil disobedience using an inappropriate set of charges.

I'm not a police officer, and no idea if the charges were excessive. The protest may have been 'well intentioned', but it's not as if the protesters will have been security vetted before being let through the fence. They could have intentionally or unintentionally damaged something that could endanger an aircraft, or acted as a diversion (again intentionally or unintentionally) for an attack. They certainly diverted security away from vulnerable areas to deal with them.

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THE.WALRUS - on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to Andy Johnson:

So, we've gone from 'charged with terrorism' to 'charged with an offence that could also apply to terrorists'. That's a big difference.

There's been a lot of embellishment of the facts in this case; intended to portray the authorities use of power as draconian and over-the-top.

The facts are that they knowingly committed serious offences in an attempt to achieve a questionable objective.

They deserved to go to prison. And that's exactly where they've gone.

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Andy Johnson on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to THE.WALRUS:

> So, we've gone from 'charged with terrorism' to 'charged with an offence that could also apply to terrorists'. That's a big difference.

No. Go back and read what I wrote: "the decision to charge them under terrorism-related laws was a disgrace". I never said they were "charged with terrorism" or anything similar. No one, including the authorities, ever believed they were terrorists. What I commented on was the use of laws designed to address terrorism in a case where there was no terrorism.

> There's been a lot of embellishment of the facts in this case; intended to portray the authorities use of power as draconian and over-the-top.

> The facts are that they knowingly committed serious offences in an attempt to achieve a questionable objective.

There are more "facts" than that.

No one is disputing that they knowingly broke the law, least of all them. The debate is over the magnitude and appropriateness of the punishment.

> They deserved to go to prison. And that's exactly where they've gone.

No they haven't. They've received suspended sentences or community orders.

Post edited at 09:29
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THE.WALRUS - on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to Andy Johnson:

It's difficult to see what your point is here. The laws are designed to protect aviation security - they breached aviation security and were charged accordingly. The fact that terrorists could also be charged with this offence is irrelevant.

And, with regards to the 'magnitude and appropriateness of the punishment' - they haven't even gone to prison (unfortunately)! Indeed, they received nothing more than the metaphorical slap-on-the-wrist..the lowest possible level of sanction. I'd be interested to hear what kind of a sanction you think is more appropriate than pretty-much nothing! 

5
Andy Johnson on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to THE.WALRUS:

> The laws are designed to protect aviation security - they breached aviation security and were charged accordingly. The fact that terrorists could also be charged with this offence is irrelevant.

That's not how it works. There's almost never just one law that applies in a situation. Yes, they breached airport security. And yes, the Aviation and Maritime Security Act is designed to protect airport security. That doesn't mean that the Aviation and Maritime Security Act should necessarily be used. Fact is, they were originally charged under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which defines aggravated trespass, because they were never a threat to security.

> And, with regards to the 'magnitude and appropriateness of the punishment' - they haven't even gone to prison (unfortunately)! Indeed, they received nothing more than the metaphorical slap-on-the-wrist..the lowest possible level of sanction. I'd be interested to hear what kind of a sanction you think is more appropriate than pretty-much nothing! 

Charge of aggravated trespass, resulting in suspended sentences.

Do you honestly think that prison is the best place for these people? Are they such a danger to the public that they need to be locked up for 23 hours a day? Costing £23k/yr in a prison system already stuffed beyond capacity. Have you actually thought it through?

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wintertree - on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to Andy Johnson:

> because they were never a threat to security.

Well that is highly debatable.  I would say that untrained, unauthorised peope with ladders and chains wandering around the aircraft themselves on an active airfield dramatically increases danger on the site regardless of their intent, ie they are a literal and real threat to security.

I would bloody well hope anyone doing that is charged under the most serious offences available.  Given the moral context of their actions I am very glad to see the judge give them all suspended sentences - I would not have wanted to see any of them go to jail.

What surprises me - and where I would like to see more fallout from this - is how they apparently just waltzed on to one of our main airfields with a ladder and had time to chain themselves around an aircraft.  With security that piss poor, an organised group of terrorists could have a field day.   

Post edited at 10:30
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Andy Johnson on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to wintertree:

> > because they were never a threat to security.

> Well that is highly debatable.  I would say that untrained, unauthorised peope with ladders and chains wandering around the aircraft themselves on an active airfield dramatically increases danger on the site regardless of their intent, ie they are a literal and real threat to security.

No. There were arguably a threat to safety. That's not the same as security.

And as to "regardless of their intent": the concept of intent is central to English law. The law isn't a blind machine - context is always relevant and the intention that people have is a key part of that.

> I would bloody well hope anyone doing that is charged under the most serious offences available.  Given the moral context of their actions I am very glad to see the judge give them all suspended sentences - I would not have wanted to see any of them go to jail.

That seems tad contradictory to me. You want them to face the most serious charges but not receive a correspondingly serious punishment? Surely they should have faced the most appropriate charges, based on an objective assessment of their actions?

> What surprises me - and where I would like to see more fallout from this - is how they apparently just waltzed on to one of our main airfields with a ladder and had time to chain themselves around an aircraft.  With security that piss poor, an organised group of terrorists could have a field day.   

Its speculation, but the embarrassment they caused may well be one reason why an attempt was made to punish them so harshly. That, and the fact that they were attempting to disrupt a politically sensitive activity (forced deportation) that is heavily promoted by the current government.

Post edited at 10:51
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wintertree - on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to Andy Johnson:

> No. There were arguably a threat to safety. That's not the same as security.

I don’t think we agree on what “security” means. I think I am correct.  Security is the absence of danger.  These people created danger - both in their presence in a controlled area, in the response which I imagine involved a lot of police with assult riffles responding to an unknown incursion to an airfield, in the diversion of a lot of flights on short notice, etc.

> And as to "regardless of their intent": the concept of intent is central to English law.

You misunderstand me, perhaps wilfully.  I clearly recognise intent in my comments on sentencing.  Regardless of their intent, their presence created a massively increased risk of danger to many people beyond themselves.

> That seems tad contradictory to me. You want them to face the most serious charges but not receive a correspondingly serious punishment?

It’s not contrary.  The charges are comesurate to the sheer danger they created and the sentences recognise that (a) they were lucky in terms of consequences and (b) their intent and contextual factors.

> Surely they should have faced the most appropriate charges, based on an objective assessment of their actions?

Yes, and my point is that the charges were appropriate based on the risks caused by their actions.  

Part of the role of justice is in setting an example for others and the charges set a very clear example.  

Post edited at 11:30
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THE.WALRUS - on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to Andy Johnson:

The argument that people who breach aviation security shouldn't  be charged with breaching aviation security to protect the sensibilities of people who erroneously think that this somehow brands them as terrorists is nonsesne.

As for the sentance; if this is a one-off, it seems reasonable. If they're undertaking these kind of stunts on a regular  basis,  incarceration is likely to be the only soloution.

The £23k annual cost of incarcersting someone is chump-change compared to the costs incurred by breaching airport security and delaying aircraft etc

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Pan Ron - on 07 Feb 2019
In reply to THE.WALRUS:

Does remind me a lot of this case (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6273199/Somali-man-deportation-stopped-good-plane-passengers-revealed-gang-rapist.html).  Do-gooding that turns out to be anything but.

Good intentions doesn't make it ok and while terrorism charges are ridiculous, I suspect people get prison time for much less than these people did.

off-duty - on 08 Feb 2019
In reply to Andy Johnson:

> They were originally charged with aggravated trespass, but the Attorney General (a politician, need I remind you) decided that the Maritime Security and Aviation Act 1990 should be used instead. Maybe you're correct that the act doesn't specifically mention terrorism, but it was brought into law specifically in response to the Lockerbie bombing and is clearly designed to address terrorism. Here's Cecil Parkinson introducing the second reading back in 1990:

> "One of the hallmarks of this Government has been their determination to stand firm against the terrorist. We have never shied away from taking the measures necessary to crush the threat of terrorism—be it on the international stage or at home. This Bill will be another valuable weapon in the battle. It will help to combat international terrorism in the sky and at sea"

The Act was introduced following Lockerbie to help combat terrorism.

As clear from the link, it upgraded the Aviation Act 1982 to provide a number of extra powers around security of airports and incorporated a number of new powers and offences around ports which didn't exist.

With respect of the offence that they were convicted with the 1990 act expanded the activities that were included in the crime of endangering safety and expanded it from the safety of aircraft to the safety of the airport.   The 1982 act required criminal damage and only directed it at safety of aircraft. An offence that arguably could have been used - the criminal damage being the cutting of the airport fence.

> I appreciate that you're a police officer and may we'll see these things differently, but to me this was a clear attempt to crush well-intentioned civil disobedience using an inappropriate set of charges.

To me it's been a clear example of people committing unlawful acts trying to engender sympathy by trying to claim scary "Terrorism" offences have been used to prosecute their protest activity, which however well intentioned it might have been is undeniably criminal, whichever piece of legislation was used.

Notwithstanding that, the charge appears to have been entirely appropriate. The jury had the option of deciding the activity did not "endanger the airport". Clearly they felt it did.

That being said, I believe they are appealing on the basis that their defence, which was something along the lines.that they had justification for doing it, was disallowed by the judge. 

Post edited at 00:44
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off-duty - on 08 Feb 2019
In reply to Andy Johnson:

> That's not how it works. There's almost never just one law that applies in a situation. Yes, they breached airport security. And yes, the Aviation and Maritime Security Act is designed to protect airport security. That doesn't mean that the Aviation and Maritime Security Act should necessarily be used. Fact is, they were originally charged under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which defines aggravated trespass, because they were never a threat to security.

They were clearly a threat to the security of the airport. They'd cut a bloody great hole through the fencing permitting fifteen entirely unvetted, untrained persons airside.

However, as you correctly point out, the law wasn't about security. The offence was about endangering safety. Speaking as an air passenger, it's the safety that worries me more than the security breach.

> Do you honestly think that prison is the best place for these people? Are they such a danger to the public that they need to be locked up for 23 hours a day? Costing £23k/yr in a prison system already stuffed beyond capacity. Have you actually thought it through?

I don't think prison is the best place for them necessarily ( and clearly neither does the judge). I do think that people cutting through airside fences, trespassing on airfields, disrupting flights and placing people in danger is a very serious matter, and I'm glad that the potential consequences have been flagged up as a result of these cases, pour encourager les autres....

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