Friday, 4 December 2015

VICTORY TO OCCUPY DEMOCRACY Occupy Gandhi 3 acquitted of all charges, following Parliament Square Tent Protest #olsx @occupynn #democracy #occupy #protest #freedom #liberty #commons #environment

Occupy Gandhi 3 acquitted of all charges, following Parliament Square Tent Protest

  • All cases relating to Occupy Democracy protests acquitted or dismissed.
  • Policing operation costs exceeded £2 million
  • Occupy Democracy Judicial Review judgement expected within 2 weeks.

The trial of the Gandi 3 concluded today, with the defendants being acquitted of all charges. Mark Maloney, Petra Rakoczi and ex-deputy chair of the Liberal Democrats Donnachadh McCarthy were each charged with engaging in a prohibited activity in Parliament Square [1] and obstruction of the Police following their protest in Parliament Square in May 2015.

The protest involved a peaceful vigil within a tent at the foot of the Gandhi statue. This is the latest in a series of trials relating to the monthly protests by Occupy Democracy at Parliament Square - with all previous trials ending in either acquittals, dismissals or findings of there being no case to answer.

In finding for the defendants, District Judge Zani suggested that the prosecution had failed to prove the defendants heard directions for them to remove the tent and leave Parliament Square.

Owen Greenhall of Garden Court Chambers, instucted by Bindmans and acting for McCarthy, said:

"The case raised important issues in relation to freedom of expression and the right to protest in Parliament Square."

Speaking after the trial, McCarthy said:

"We are delighted that the court has dismissed all charges against the Occupy Gandhi 3, following our peaceful civil disobedience chanting at the foot of the Mahatma Gandhi statue. Our meditation protest called for the criminalisation of the investment of a trillion dollars on further fossil fuel exploration. As burning more than 20% of existing resources means the destruction of our ecosystems, further exploration is the definition of genocidal insanity."

Whilst the use of a tent was controversial, the defendants content that a tent is an important symbol of the protest, constituting its manner and form, which should be permitted. The trial coincides with a Judicial Review taken by George Barda against the London Mayor for his treatment of Occupy Democracy during the months they attended Parliament Square to protest. [2]

Occupy London legal advisor Matthew Varnham said:

"These acquittals are very welcome. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) should now answer to why they have persisted in prosecuting peaceful protesters, in light of the consistent refusal of the Courts to convict."


Notes for Editors:

[1] See Section 143(2)(b)(i) Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011,

[2] The Judicial Review hearing concluded on Thursday 26th November 2015. The judgement, which is due to be written up, is expected within the next 2-3 weeks. For further details see and

[3] From a written response by the Mayor of London to a question by Jenny Jones: "Question No: 2015/0830. The total estimated cost to the MPS of policing the Parliament Square Demonstrations from mid-October to mid-February is £1,945,279 of which £1,588,316 are opportunity costs. The additional cost relates to overtime, £327,567 and equipment, transport and catering costs, £29,395." Please note this figure does not cover the period from March-May when Occupy Democracy continued to be active around Parliament Square, nor the cost of pursuing unsuccessful prosecutions through the courts.

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