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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 March, 2004, 12:03 GMT
Anti-war demo was port trespass
Anti-war activists accused of chaining themselves to tanks in a bid to prevent the Iraq war have been convicted of trespass and criminal damage.

Fourteen Greenpeace protesters broke into Marchwood Military Port, Southampton, on 4 February 2003.

They claimed a "defence of necessity" to prevent a "greater evil", which they believed broke international law.

All 14 were found guilty of aggravated trespass. Four were also found guilty of criminal damage.

'Highly intelligent'

During the trial before magistrates in Southampton, District Judge John Woollard declined a request by the defence to call on the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, to attend court.

They wanted him to reveal his advice to ministers on the legality of war.

Judge Woollard said he had only to decide whether actions at Marchwood Military Port were legal and did not have to take on the "startling" task of considering whether the war was legal.

He said: "They are all highly intelligent, rational people.

"They chose to do what they did. They were not impelled to do it. I do not believe these defendants believed they could stop the war by chaining themselves to tanks or fences."

He said the fact 10 of the defendants did not cause criminal damage by painting or scratching tanks proved the actions of the other four were not a necessity in the protest.



Bid to hear Iraq war advice fails
10 Mar 04  |  Hampshire/Dorset
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09 Mar 04  |  Hampshire/Dorset
Activists demand Iraq war advice
09 Mar 04  |  Hampshire/Dorset

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