ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

12 November 2001


*GM crop protesters deny obstruction
*GM crops protest to highlight case
*Retired teacher and gardener face jury on Tuesday November 13 for cutting down GM crops
*PRESS RELEASE on GM propaganda protest
*Protestors fight GM crop trials


GM crop protesters deny obstruction

Aberdeen Press and Journal November 9, 2001

FIVE protesters against GM crop trials in the Black Isle appeared at Dingwall Sheriff Court yesterday. Catriona Spink, 36, of Tie na Coorin, Tom a Mhoid, Gorthleck; Andrew Aikman, 55, c/o Well Cottage, Woodhead, Kinloss; James Grigg, 39, of Linfield, Cawdor Road, Auldearn; Daniel Puplett, 25, of 212A Findhorn, Forres, and Donnie MacLeod, 53, of Kylerona Farm, Ardersier, denied trespassing and disrupting or obstructing sowing activities at Tullich Farm, by Munlochy, on August 23. Puplett also denied obstructing four police officers in the execution of their duty by struggling violently with them. Spink is accused of running into the path of a tractor, causing the driver to brake, climbing on to the tractor roof and refusing to come down, while MacLeod, an organic farmer, is accused of padlocking himself to a tractor. Aikman is said to have fastened himself to a seed drill with a chain and padlock, Grigg to have run into the path of a tractor and crawled under the vehicle, and Puplett to have taken hold of a seed drill and refused to release it. Trial was fixed for January 18.


GM crops protest to highlight case

Worcester Evening News, 9.11.2001

WORCESTERSHIRE Greenpeace has organised a month of action across the county to highlight the first grassroots GM action to be tried by jury. Next week, two Herefordshire people are due to stand trial at Worcester Crown Court charged with criminal damage. Barbara Charvet, aged 59, a rehabilitation therapist from Michaelchurch Escley, and Jim Ridout, 26, a garden designer from Orcop, are alleged to have entered a test crop of GM maize at the ADAS research centre, Preston Wynne, Herefordshire. After six hearings the case, which began in October last year, was transferred from Hereford Magistrates Court. The delay was due to a dispute over the cost of the damage, which determines whether criminal cases can go to Crown Court. To highlight the trial the Greenpeace group was due to organise a series of events, including a street theatre and stalls at 11.30am today. "We're setting up a mock trial outside the Guildhall and a variety of groups will have stalls to highlight the GM crop situation," said Peter Robinson, co-ordinator of the Worcestershire Greenpeace group. He confirmed they would also be carrying out new a survey to find out the feelings of city people on GM crops. A range of action groups from Birmingham, Coventry and Hereford will be converging on Worcester during the week to take part in activities including supermarket surveys and a peaceful anti-GM procession on Monday, starting at the Marrs Bar in Pierpoint Street, from 9.30am. "On Monday, we'll have a parade with local and national groups," said Mr Robinson. "After the march we could be going to DEFRA headquarters at Whittington, to deliver the results of our GM Worcester city survey."

Members of the group will also be creating a GM-free register for members of the public to sign. This could include residents who own allotments and gardeners and want to declare their land GM free.


Retired teacher and gardener face jury on Tuesday November 13 for cutting down GM crops

Wednesday 7 November 2001

On the morning of Tuesday November 13 at Worcester Crown Court in Shire  Hall, Worcester, Barabra Charvet, age 59, a retired English teacher and Jim  Ridout age 26, a self employed landscape gardener will be tried for  criminal damage when they cut down Genetically Modified (GM) maize in  August 2000 at Preston Wynn in Hertfordshire [1]. The trial will last five  or six days.

The Aventis GM maize was being grown at a crop research centre at Rose Maund, Preston Wynn in Hertfordshire. It was part of the Government's farm  scale trial programme of GM crops. The defendants say that their action on 5 August 2000 in openly cutting  down the GM maize using sickles was lawful as they acted to prevent  immediate damage to near-by crops, the environment and public health [1].

This statutory defence is available under the criminal damage law. Written testimony to support the concerns of the defendants has been provided by experts including genetic scientists, human health scientists and experts  in agriculture, bees, pollen, science policy, pesticides and the environment.

This is the second jury trial for cutting down GM crops in Britain [2]. Due  to the uncertain value of the damage caused, the defendants had the choice  of a magistrates or crown court trial. Barristers Anya Lewis and Terry  Munyard will represent the defendants in court. Their solicitor is Mike Schwarz of Bindmans in London. Barbra Charvet, Defendant and Hereford resident said  "No one asked local people if they wanted GM crops. A jury trial like this  is a precious chance for the people to take back a bit of power"

Contact: Media liaison 07903 771 174 /pager - 07666 723 818

Editors' Notes
[1] Jim and Barbara both local residents had been actively campaigning -  writing letters, seeking meetings, demonstrating and petitioning prior to cutting down the GM maize. Over 300 people concerned about GM trials in  Worcester/ Herefordshire attended a public meeting in Upton Bishop village hall in May 2000.
[2] On 20 September 2000 Greenpeace volunteers were acquitted in a jury trial at Norwich Crown Court of criminal damage for cutting down GM maize  at a farm in Lyng, Norfolk. Solicitors Bindmans also acted for Greenpeace.
Picture Editors' Notes
[1] The previous day, Monday 12th November, there will be a parade of supporters for the defendants starting at 9.30 a.m. from the court.
[2] The defendants will be at court on Tuesday November 13 at 10.30 a.m.


McConnell faces protest over biotech propaganda


9 November 2001

Anti-GM campaign organisation Scottish Genetix Action will protest at the Scottish Parent Teacher Council‚s annual conference on Saturday 10 November 2001 from 9.15am at Glasgow Caledonian University, where current Minister of Education Jack McConnell will be speaking.  The protest will be in relation to the biotech-funded magazine "Your World" on GM food and crops, which has been targeted for distribution to Scottish schools.(1)

Joan Higginson campaigner with Scottish Genetix Action said, "The magazine is loaded with biotechnology industry propaganda, masquerading as education material.  So far Jack McConnell has done nothing to allay our fears that the biotech industry is being allowed to infiltrate our education system and influence our children.(2) This magazine is full of non-truths.  It is simply despicable that our government regulators would allow this corruption of young minds.  We are seeking a reasonable debate on this very important matter and call for Mr. McConnell to instigate it."

Higginson continued "We have massive support on this issue.  A coalition of UK groups is supporting Scottish Genetix Action‚s calls for all sides of the GM debate to be heard, before the release of any such material. These groups include Greenpeace UK, World Development Movement, Henry Doubleday Research Association and Friends of the Earth Scotland."(3)

Les Webster, President of the Scottish Beekeepers Association said "it is improper to distribute any material having a bias to school children -- we would therefore support action to prevent the distribution."

For more information contact Joan Higginson, Scottish Genetix Action 07759 685095 or office no 0141 334 4355


1.  The groups supporting Scottish Genetix Action are:

Greenpeace UK, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Henry Doubleday Research Association, Scottish Beekeepers Association, World Development Movement, Scottish Green Party, Scottish Socialist Party, Gloablise Resistance, Scottish Health Food Retailers Association, Borders Organic Gardeners, Greencity Wholefoods, Highlands and Islands GM Concern.

2.  Scottish Genetix Action have received replies from Mr. McConnell's office, none of which have thus far indicated the need for a reasoned debate on this issue with all concerned parties.

3.  The "Your World" series of magazines are produced in the USA by the Biotechnology Institute, funded by BIO (the Biotechnology Industry Association) whose members include Monsanto and Scottish Enterprise.

Scottish Genetix Action have called for the "Your World" magazine on GM Food and Crops not to be distributed until mechanisms are put in place to ensure that a proper and balanced debate can take place in schools. They have also called for GM to be treated as a social and ethical issue and not just as a scientific subject.

For more information


Protestors fight GM crop trials

Western Daily Press, Tues Nov 6, 2001

CAMPAIGNERS carrying candles last night began a week-long vigil to protest at genetically modified crop trials.

Protestors are objecting to GM maize being grown at Rosemaundes Farm near Bromyard in Herefordshire.  They say organic farms sit on the boundary of the six-mile exclusion zone around the site.

Protest organiser Julia Goldsmith said:" We want people to know what is going on in their own backyard."

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