In the first trial of its kind in the UK 7 animal rights activists are set to challenge section 145 of the serious organised crime and police act 2005 which made it an "offence" to "interfere with an animal research organisation".
The "research" organisation refered to here is Sequani limited in Ledbury, Herefordshire who test agro-chemicals, pharmaceutical compounds and medical devices amongst other things on a multitude of different animal species at their laboratory.
The 7 are accused of "conspiracy to contravene section 145 socpa" namely by means of peaceful protest outside Sequani and outside the premises of those that were contracted to carry out work for the lab.
The 7 accused who have been on unconditional police bail since May 9th 2006 have all made not guilty pleas despite a plea bargain previously offered by the *trial judge.
If found guilty by the jury the activists could face up to 5 years in prison under the socpa law.
Peaceful protesters beware!
Such is life under government!
The trial of the 7 is set to start on Monday January 7th at Birmingham crown court and is to last for up to 4 - 6 weeks.
The *trial judge is an admitted "game shooter" (he shoots birds out of the sky in his spare time, for fun, his own enjoyment)
This should be a very interesting trial to say the least!
Updates will be posted on IMC and elsewhere as the show-trial progresses.
NB: Five people have already been sent to prison since July 2005 after pleading guilty to contravening section 145 socpa.
More on the campaign against Sequani limited at http://sequani.wordpress.com