Friday, 13 November 2009

*Attempt to ban animal campaigners from wearing animal costumes

An attempt to ban animal rights campaigners from wearing animal costumes, 'blood' splattered lab coats and face masks and carry banners with the words 'murder','torture', 'kills', abuses' or 'Novartis' was rejected in a ruling by Mr Justice Sweeney at the Royal Courts of Justice on 30th Oct.

The application under the Protection From Harassment Act was made on behalf of Novartis by, surprise, surprise, Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden (aka TLC) - the go-to lawyer for oppressing civil liberties.

TLC had claimed a demonstration held on Sat 31st would incite criminal activities through 'subtle' means. TLC attempted to argue the demonstration would violate Article 8 of the Human Rights Act - the right to privacy in the home and workplace - and this should override Articles 10 and 11 - the rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

At the hearing TLC was unable to provide any case law to support his claims and the application was refused.

The representative for defendants Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), Dr. Max Gastone, said, 'Novartis were seeking to control the atmosphere on a protest, which would have been a very draconian ruling. Even the police were wary about how what Novartis sought could have been enforced.'

Had Novartis won the case, the ruling would have set a dangerous precedent in curtailing freedom of speech and the right to protest.

Saturday's demo went ahead as planned, complete with giant dissected bunnies, placards of abused monkeys and a banner with the slogan 'Novartis: Animal Abuser'. There were no arrests despite the subtle subliminal urgings to commit crime.

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