On 19 October at Isleworth Crown Court, London, Judge Anne Molyneux, will sentence Trenton Oldfield for the (ancient) common law of Public Nuisance … the maximum sentence is life in prison.
Trenton was charged with Public Nuisance for his direct-action protest at the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race on 07 April 2012. The aim of his protest was to focus attention on the long-standing and entirely unjust inequalities in British society that are being severely exacerbated by government cuts. Trenton chose the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race because it is a symbol of class, privilege and elitism in Britain. His protest effected 18 rowers, on a closed river.
At the end of the trial, Judge Anne Molyneux requested a Fast Track Report be undertaken to evaluate a potential custodial sentence. Trenton was told (26 September) to prepare for the possibility of jail.
As these two recent articles highlight the use this ancient common law for protest is like cracking open a nut with a sledgehammer. It sets a worrying precedent that reflects the growing intolerance to protest by an increasingly aggressive political, judicial and media class:
1. ‘The Need for Public Protest’ by John Cooper at 25 Bedford Row http://shadowofthenoose.com/2012/09/30/sometimes-we-should-be-spoil-sports-the-need-for-public-protest/
2. ‘When Protest Is a Public Nuisance, the Public Should Worry’ by Julian Dobson http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/julian-dobson/trenton-oldfield-protest_b_1953799.html?utm_hp_ref=uk&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000008
None will be surprised by the duplicitous difference between what the British political class said about the very recent Pussy Riot protest in Russia:
“I am deeply concerned by the sentencing of three members of the band Pussy Riot, which can only be considered a disproportionate response to an expression of political belief” Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt, 17 August 2012
There are two immediate ways you can make your indignation known:
1. ‘Join‘ to bear witness to Trenton’s actual sentencing in the court room on the 19 October. (There are no plans for a rally outside the court.)
If you are abroad etc and can’t attend you can still ‘join’ here as a symbol of your solidarity. Please share.
2. Make a donation to Defend the Right to Protest – organisation of volunteers hard at work, day in, day out working on these concerns for all of us.
Trenton remains in very good spirits. If you would like to know more about why Trenton swam into the River Thames and into the course of the two rowing boats, please read here: http://thisisnotagateway.squarespace.com/criminalisation-of-protest/
Please share widely – inviting others to join.