Exporter loses attempt to ban demonstrators

DANNY PENMAN

One of the country's largest livestock exporters failed yesterday to obtain a High Court injunction banning a group of 13 protesters from blocking trucks entering the Essex port of Brightlingsea.

If granted, the injunction would have meant that if they broke the law, the demonstrators would be in contempt of court.

At the moment, their only fear is arrest and conviction for minor offences.

Roger Mills and his company, Live Sheep Traders (Ireland), argued that the protesters were interfering with his trade and he wanted an injunction preventing them from doing so. He was also seeking costs and damages of more than pounds 500,000. Such costs would have bankrupted most of the protesters.

Jonathan Crystal, acting for Mr Mills and his company, argued that the defendants were involved in a conspiracy to injure his business.

Mr Crystal said that the sheer number of arrests, 583 to date, plus the existence of Bale - Brightlingsea Against Live Exports - and fliers distributed on its behalf amounted to a conspiracy.

He claimed that Bale was trying "to clothe itself in respectability", but added: "It's increasingly difficult to maintain that with all the violence and disorder that has occurred."

He claimed that there have been numerous unlawful acts such as obstruction, criminal damage and assaults. Mr Crystal argued that the defendants must take at least part of the responsibility for them.

Mr Justice Forbes, the judge, countered that there was no evidence that any of them had been involved in physical assaults or criminal damage.

Mr Crystal again claimed that the defendants were involved in breaking the law and were inciting others to do the same. He claimed that the fliers distributed by Bale were an attempt to whip up emotion and incite others to break the law.

Mr Justice Forbes said that there were occasions where unlawful activities gained the admiration of law-abiding citizens.

"What Mahatma Gandhi did was certainly against the law ... but most people approved of what he did."

Richard Barton, acting for 13 of the 14 defendants, argued that granting an injunction would appear to be "an assault on the fundamental right to protest".

Martin Westgate, acting for Andrew Abbot, the 14th defendant, argued that he had a moral right and a duty to hinder the live export trade.

The judge granted an injunction ordering Mr Abbot not to interfere with the livestock trade through Brightlingsea, but he refused to grant injunctions against the other 13 defendants.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Supervisor & Advisor - Automotive

£16500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Housing Assistant

£16819 - £21063 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager - OTE £60,000

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In 2014, they launched the worl...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Design Lead

£23958 - £29282 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones