Fortnum and Mason 145 Trial: Day 2
Report from the courtroom from an anonymous ‘Spartacus’, first published at the FM145 website here.
To begin with the court was adjourned until 11, DJ snow was at a meeting that had unexpectedly been brought forward. Some of the defendants were heading out for coffee when I arrived, but I’d just been through security so I headed up to wait in the lobby. A few doors down from us outside court five were the squatting activists awaiting trail. 18 of them are up, having been arrested last week on charges of assembling without a permit within a mile of parliament (section 132).
The first swathe of witnesses consisted of customers who happened to be eating or having afternoon tea in Fortnum & Masons when the occupation began. Following the testaments of four customers the court adjourned for lunch, which was lucky because after that talk of afternoon tea I was famished. After lunch two witnesses who were working at F&M that day were called; both sales assistants.
We came to the end of the witnesses for the day, and the trial was ahead of schedule, what followed was a detailed discussion about ‘housekeeping’ including which of the chief police officers we’re calling to cross examine about their decisions that lead to our arrests . After some discussion around bad character the court was adjourned again so the Judge could read the associated documents.
The prosecution has requested that the previous convictions of some of the defendants in all three trials are disclosed and considered as evidence. They argued that these convictions are relevant to the case as they are activism- related. The judge somewhat surprisingly refused, explaining that he was not satisfied that any of the convictions give any propensity to commit this offense, as they are not sufficiently similar. In his words ‘this really comes down to joint enterprise or nothing’.
This is good news for us, but some of the 30 were chosen to be on trial – according to the prosecution- only because of previous convictions, which the judge just ruled as irrelevant to the case! This highlights the injustice and arbitrariness of dropping the charges of many of the defendants while keeping some on trial.