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Aldermaston trials

Two trials at Newbury magistrates’ court for actions at the Aldermaston nuclear weapons factory in Berkshire have resulted in six convictions.

On 1-2 June, Ray Bradford, Janet Fenton and Gillian Lawrence defended themselves against the charge of criminal trespass on a protected nuclear site, under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA), arising out of the Trident Ploughshares Big Blockade in February 2010.

The judge apparently paid attention to the defendants’ human rights and international humanitarian law arguments. All three were sentenced to only three months’ conditional discharge and costs of only £50 each.

On 21 June, three Christian peace protesters were convicted of both criminal trespass under SOCPA and criminal damage, for an action at Aldermaston in September 2010.

Susan Clarkson and Chris Cole, both from Oxford, and Martin Newell from London, were given conditional discharges for 18 months and ordered to pay £553 each in costs and compensation. They had created a gateway in the outer fence of AWE Aldermaston and attached a sign saying: “Open for Disarmament: All Welcome.” (See PN 2526.)

Chris Cole said: “The three of us went to AWE Aldermaston to say as clearly as we could that nuclear weapons – mass violence – will bring neither peace nor security. Rather our security, our peace, and our salvation lies in loving our enemy and working for the common good.”