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Last Updated: Monday, 11 October, 2004, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Judge's injury delays animal case
Oxford had become the new focus for animal rights groups
A decision on Oxford University's bid for an injunction against animal rights activists has been delayed.

After the close of evidence at the High Court on Friday, Mr Justice Grigson injured his back and will not sit in court until he recovers.

No date has been given for his ruling, which will follow final submissions in writing from both sides in the dispute.

Oxford University wants to extend an existing 35-metre "no harassment" zone around its research laboratory.

It is claimed that nearly 98% of the new 18m facility's work would involve rodents, the remainder being amphibians, fish, and primates.
Our case is that we are being harassed or we anticipate that we may be harassed by the defendants
Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden

The university says it is not seeking to curb peaceful protest and has offered to provide a demonstration area immediately opposite its South Parks Road site.

Work on the construction of the laboratory stopped on 13 July because contractors faced harassment and intimidation from parts of the animal rights movement, said solicitor-advocate Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden.

Pressing for the injunction against 10 named defendants, Mr Lawson-Cruttenden said: "Our case is that we are being harassed or we anticipate that we may be harassed by the defendants."

'Protected persons'

The 10 are: Mel Broughton, John Curtin, Robert Cogswell, Speak Campaigns, Stop Primate Experimentation at Cambridge, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, Oxford Animal Rights Group, People Against Cruelty to Animals - West Midlands, West Midlands Animal Action and Animal Liberation Front.

During the hearing, proceedings were discontinued against Mr Broughton and Mr Cogswell after they offered legal undertakings not to harass any of the "protected persons" under the order.

The defendants are contesting the injunction under the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act on the basis that there is no evidence that they are acting unlawfully.

Oxford had become the new focus for animal rights groups after plans for a multi-million-pound laboratory at Cambridge were abandoned earlier this year because of the excessive costs of protecting staff.

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