Quaker activist Sam Walton and Rev Daniel Woodhouse have pled ‘Not Guilty’ to criminal damage at their pre-trial hearing, and called for further action to Stop Arming Saudi. Sam Walton reports.
Back in January we broke into BAE System’s Warton Airbase to try and disarm warplanes they are selling to the Saudis. The Saudi are using those planes in their bombing campaign that is devastating Yemen. We had to take action to prevent crimes against humanity.
After a vast delay that spits in the face of the urgent need to stop the devastation in Yemen, yesterday was also the day that CAAT received a disappointing verdict in their judicial review of selling weapons to Saudi. Whilst CAAT will appeal this, it only makes it even more pressing that we must take action to stop British made weapons being used to obliterate Yemen.
Coincidentally, yesterday we also had our pre-trial hearing at Blackpool Magistrates Court. We both plead not guilty to two counts of criminal damage. A trial has been scheduled for 4 days from October 23 in Burnley.
Our barrister Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh of Matrix Chambers was somewhat more on the ball than the Crown Prosecution Service, and constructed as solid a foundation for a trial as we could hope for. She built on the excellent preparatory work of out solicitor Mike Schwarz of Bindmans. We’re deeply grateful for their dedication, which has been pro-bono up to this point.
It’s going to be a lot of work as we do not currently have legal aid, but we knew that when we embarked on this path. We are both pleased we will get our day in court and fairly chilled out about the whole thing. We are grateful for the support, thoughts & prayers sent our way.
As the government press on in their inhuman determination to flog weapons to the murderous Saudi regime, we must all keep up the pressure for them to #StopArmingSaudi. The Saudi’s will be buying weapons at the mega arms fair DSEI in September in East London, and we will both be there to protest.
Sam’s also involved in something called Art the Arms Fair, which is an exciting way to get more people to know about the arms fair – and raise money for CAAT.
Keep an eye on this blog for more updates as we approach trial. We hope to see you at a protest against DSEI!