October 23, 2013 by combehavendefenders
The third of the Combe Haven 19 trials continued on October 21 and 22, having been adjourned from mid-September. This involved four defendants who had been arrested in the vicinity of Upper Wilting in early January, one on a digger, three up or near trees which were due to be cut down.
The prosecutor finally finished his case (he’d already been at it for eight days) with two police officers, one of whom was a ‘police liaison officer’, or PLO (see here for an article about the Link Road PLOs). He provided the interesting information that he had not taken notes at the scene of one of the arrests, because he was not there to warn or arrest people, and the police had discovered that it was ‘not liked’ (presumably by protesters) if liaison officers wrote notes. He described this as a ‘learning curve’
After the prosecution case, the barristers each made a submission to the court that their individual client had no case to answer. This was successful only in the case of the two defendants who’d been charged with ‘aggravated trespass on Crowhurst Road’: Crowhurst Road is a public highway, and as such one cannot trespass on it. However, there were other charges against them so they were not yet free to go.
The defence case was, mercifully, much shorter than the prosecution, taking up less than two days, much of which was cross examination of the defendants by the prosecutor, who appeared determine to ask the most inane questions possible. Trying to force one defendant to admit that she had known who the High Court Enforcement Officials were when they approached her, he said, “You didn’t think they were dogwalkers, did you?”, to which she gave the entirely sensible reply, “No, because they didn’t have dogs.”
The case didn’t finish until late in the evening and so no verdict was given that day. The defendants have to return to court on Monday 16 December (the same day as the adjourned trial 4 restarts) to hear the verdict.