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Case dismissed: first SOCPA 128 on nuclear licensed site

A District Judge at Newbury today dismissed a case of trespass on a nuclear licensed site against an Aldermaston peace campaigner. The prosecution was the first of its kind brought under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA s128, as amended by s12 of the Terrorism, Act 2006, to apply to nuclear licensed sites).

Juliet McBride was arrested inside the perimeter fence at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in March 2007, during a no Trident replacement protest.

After the court visited the site this afternoon, District Judge Sanders dismissed the case on the grounds that the SOCPA legislation applies only to the nuclear licensed site, not the entire space within the perimeter fence,
and that Juliet McBride had not entered the licensed area when arrested.

The boundaries of the nuclear licensed site are clearly shown on the map issued with the license by the regulating authority, and there are multiple signs attached to the inner fence, also clearly marking the area.

Speaking after the case Juliet said,  "The MoD have shown their usual crass incompetence in trying to extend the SOCPA legislation to meet their own needs rather than keeping to the law".

The court agreed an order for the defendant's costs.