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Three anti-arms trade campaigners acquitted as judge rules blocking road 'reasonable'

Tim Hill, 32, Sarah Johnson, 23, and Rosie Sinfield, 28, all had a single charge of wilfully obstructing a highway dismissed at Stratford magistrates’ court today

THREE protesters who blocked a road leading to the DSEI arms fair have been acquitted after a judge found their actions were reasonable.

Tim Hill, 32, Sarah Johnson, 23, and Rosie Sinfield, 28, all had a single charge of wilfully obstructing a highway dismissed at Stratford magistrates’ court today.

Huda Ammori, 23, had the same charge against her dismissed by district judge Jane McIvor after the prosecution closed its case earlier this week.

The charge against Pelle Kirkeby, 30, was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service following the three acquittals.

All five were arrested on September 8 last year for obstructing Seagull Lane, east London, leading to the giant arms fair at the Excel Centre.

In closing submissions, defence lawyer Simon Natas said the protest had been lawful and reasonable.

He said calls this week for suffragettes to be pardoned showed that the law “moves on,” especially “in circumstances where moral right is so clearly on the side of the protester.”

Ms McIvor said there was “no doubt” that Seagull Lane was a highway and that the protest was a “wilful obstruction.”

“Had they done this on the Strand, it would have been pretty unreasonable,” but as the protest was “very targeted and limited,” it was reasonable, the judge said, dismissing the charges.

After the hearing, the four defendants — Mr Hill, Ms Johnson, Ms Sinfield and Mr Kirkeby — said: “This is more than just a legal victory, it is a moral one.

“It is now time for the government to act on the widespread public concerns over the DSEI arms fair. We hope that 2017 will prove to be the last DSEI arms fair held in London.”

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