Judge and prosecution also insist that politics be excluded from case despite obvious political dimension
Well-known Jewish left-winger Tony Greenstein is one of six peace protesters on trial in Wolverhampton Crown Court for possessing ‘articles with intent to destroy or damage’ the property of notorious Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems.
After the trial proper finally began on the fourth day of the hearing, the judge, Judge Chambers, made clear that he wants all political questions and dimensions excluded from the proceedings – in which he is in agreement with the prosecution, who wants the case to be heard as a purely criminal one.
This decision comes despite the clear political aspects of action against Elbit, which last year closed a UK factory following a string of protests by pro-Palestinian protest group Palestine Action – and the earlier raids by police on the homes of protesters against Elbit’s and other arms producers’ participation in a controversial Liverpool weapons exhibition.
And the trial saw further controversy when the judge denied Greenstein, believed to have been suffering from food poisoning, permission to leave the box to seek medical relief, despite the hearing being at a technical stage that did not require the defendants’ participation – and despite being reportedly aware that Greenstein is a transplant recipient. Skwawkbox understands that Greenstein ultimately left the room anyway.
Greenstein has said in a now-deleted blog post that the driver for his actions was the role of the company’s weapons in the deaths of Palestinians
The trial is expected to last another three weeks.
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