QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
London WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE IRWIN
|DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS||Respondent|
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Mr D Penny (instructed by Crown Prosecution Service) appeared on behalf of the Respondent
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"On 10 November 2010 at 30 Millbank Tower ... having trespassed on land, namely Millbank Tower ... and in relation to a lawful activity, namely persons working within that building, which persons were engaged in on that land, did an act, namely unlawfully occupied and remained on the land in company with more than 50 people whilst property was damaged and fires started, which you intended to have the effect of obstructing or disrupting that activity.
Contrary to Section 68(1) and (3) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994."
"Offence of aggravated trespass.
(1) A person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on land ... and, in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in ... on that ... land ... does there anything which is intended by him to have the effect ...
(b) of obstructing that activity, or
(c) of disrupting that activity.
(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or both."
"(4) The prosecution evidence at trial was agreed and read pursuant to section 9 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967. The appellant did not give evidence.
(5) I was satisfied so that I was sure that
(i) On 10th November 2010 a protest march took place in Central London against the proposals to increase tuition fees.
(ii) 30 Millbank Tower is a building which contains commercial tenants and 75 residential flats. Approximately 2,000 people work at the Tower. 30 Millbank Tower is private property. The offices of the Conservative Party Central Office are on the third floor of the premises.
(iii) At approximately 13:00 hrs a large number of protesters entered the reception area of the building, smoke bombs were ignited and a large plate glass window was smashed from the outside. Thousands more protesters were outside the building trying to enter. Those protesters were hostile. Within the building protesters were running through the ground floor areas, fire alarm glass was broken, fire alarms were activated. Eventually all the ground floor windows were broken. Protesters accessed the roof and threw objects from it including bricks and a fire extinguisher. Fires were lit in the courtyard. Graffiti was found on the pillars within the reception area. Damage totalling £170,852.56 was caused.
(iv) This behaviour prevented those within the building working. Significant fear was caused. Some workers were forced to seek refuge within the central part of the building. Eventually occupants were evacuated by the police, some through corridors lined by the police for their protection.
(v) At 18:20 hrs Police Officer Pearson entered the building where he saw a group of people who were detained by other officers. One of that group was the appellant who was wearing a black hat and hooded jacket. He was carrying a banner. He was arrested and taken to the Charing Cross Police Station where he was later interviewed, he made no comment to the questions he was asked."
"(1) I was satisfied so that I was sure that the appellant had entered 30 Millbank Tower as a trespasser. There was no evidence of when he had entered the premises or of his behaviour once inside.
(2) Nevertheless I was satisfied so that I was sure that the appellant had entered, or remained in the building, at the time when significant damage was caused to, or being caused to that building. I was satisfied so that I was sure that his presence encouraged the criminal behaviour of others. I was satisfied so that I was sure that he intended to disrupt and obstruct the lawful activity of the occupiers, and to intimidate those persons to deter them from engaging in their lawful activities."
"Was I wrong to conclude that the appellant by entering or remaining in 30 Millbank Tower, at a time when significant damage was being, or had been caused to the premises, had committed a distinct or overt act beyond the trespass itself?"
"It is entirely clear that the statute requires proof of three elements: (i) trespass on land in the open air; (ii) the doing of some act - that must be some distinct and overt act beyond the trespass itself; and (iii) the intention by this second act to intimidate, obstruct or disrupt as provided by (a) to (c) in section 68(1) ... "
"Mr Starmer, who appears for one only of the respondents, in his skeleton argument concedes at paragraph 5 that there may be circumstances in which unlawful occupation in company with others could amount to the second act required to be proved under section 68. I would accept this; but in such a case I doubt whether a bare allegation of occupation would be satisfactory. At least I think it should be supported by some further particulars of what it is said the defendant was actually doing. The starting point is that the second act required by the statute must, in my judgment, be distinct and overt. Occupation may, in reality, in some cases amount to no more than the initial trespass. If the case being made were that the second act was constituted by the Respondents distinctly remaining on the land in force and thus intimidating those lawfully engaged there, then I would expect to see something more than mere occupation with others pleaded in the information."
- The appellant was arrested within the building.
- There is no evidence to suggest that in fact he was brought inside the building by arresting officers. Indeed, had there been evidence to such effect, it is inconceivable that he would have been treated as a trespasser in the first place; indeed I should record that the fact of his being a trespasser was not challenged before us on this appeal.
- The appellant was dressed as described in the case, wearing a black hat and hooded jacket. He was also carrying a banner. From those facts it is, to my mind, unavoidable that any suggestion that he was there simply in some other capacity as an observer or reporter or in any other "innocent" capacity, can safely and properly be excluded.