Page last updated at 16:24 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 17:24 UK

Jury acquits Raytheon protesters

Scales of justice

Six Londonderry anti-war protesters accused of destroying property belonging to US defence company Raytheon have been acquitted.

A jury of six men and four woman sitting at Belfast Crown Court reached an unanimous decision.

The six, who included 65-year-old journalist and author Eamonn McCann, were each accused of criminal damage.

However, Mr McCann, of Westland Avenue, was convicted of stealing two computer discs belonging to the company.

The judge imposed a 12 month conditional discharge.

Mr McCann's co-accused were James Anthon Kelly, (47) of Rathkeele Way, Eamon O'Donnell, 53, of Campion Court, Colm Donal Sarto Bryce, 42, of Westland Avenue, Sean Heaton, 35, of Circular Road and 42-year-old Kieran Vincent Gallagher of Craft Village.

Speaking outside the court, Mr McCann said the men welcomed the jury's decision and said it had "completely vindicated" their actions.

The men took part in a protest at Raytheon's offices in August 2006.

Raytheon makes the Patriot, Tomahawk, Cruise and Sidewinder missiles.

However, the company has said its Derry operation is limited to software development and not the physical manufacture of weapons.

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