6 February 2014

Duncan Penny and Will Hays successful in Supreme Court "protest" case concerning the sale of beauty products made in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Duncan Penny and Will Hays successful in Supreme Court "protest" case concerning the sale of beauty products made in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Duncan Penny and Will Hays appeared for the Crown in R v Richardson and another, a Supreme Court case which considered the meaning of “lawful activity” in section 68 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

The decision will have a significant impact on “protest” cases where persons trespass on premises in order to disrupt the activities of persons or companies to which the protesters object. To avoid conviction of the offence of aggravated trespass the protester will need to show (a) ┬áthat the activity which he disrupts is unlawful and (b) that the unlawful activity he disrupts is “integral” to the activities at the premises in question.

On the facts of the particular case the activity was the sale of beauty products, which was lawful. The defence put forward – that those products derived from alleged war crimes committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – was rejected on the basis that (even assuming the allegation to be true) the unlawful activity identified was not “integral” to the lawful activity taking place on the premises, which was the sale of beauty products.