A High Court judge has extended an injunction granted to employees of a research laboratory to protect them from harassment by animal rights protesters.
The firm has research centres in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire
On Friday Mr Justice Gibbs ruled that an interim order granted to employees of
Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) by a judge in London on 16 April should remain in
place pending a full hearing of the case.
The injunction was granted to Brian Cass, the managing director of HLS, which has research centres in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, on behalf of more than 1,000 employees.
Mr Justice Gibbs said: "In my judgment there is a serious likelihood, in the absence of injunctive relief continuing, that the employees will suffer further unlawful harassment of a serious nature."
At a recent hearing, solicitor Tim Lawson-Cruttenden, for HLS and Mr Cass,
told Mr Justice Gibbs: "It is clear that both the claimant company and the claimant employees have been the subject of a very detailed campaign that has been targeted against them by an organisation called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (Shac).
"We say that the campaign amounts, at the very least, to harassment as a matter of fact, and that it also involves a large number of criminal offences being committed in the course of that campaign."
Mr Lawson-Cruttenden said: "The claimants' case is that the campaign has been committed on a vast, increasing scale since November 1999, when this campaign started, and it is also the claimants' case that since the injunction was imposed on 16 April that broadly it has stopped."
The injunction states that protesters be restrained from pursuing a course of
conduct which amounts to harassment of the employees and their families.
It bans them from approaching within 50 yards of the homes of the employees and places exclusion zones at the two research centres.
A number of individual defendants had opposed continuation of the injunction.
But the judge said he found that it was both "just and convenient" to continue the order at this stage.