Earlier on Indymedia at:

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/01/304467.html

During Mayday 2001, police trapped protestors in Oxford Circus for 7 hours without access toilets, food or water.

Nearly four years later, the High Court has rejected compensation claims by Lois Austin and Geoffrey Saxby who claimed they had been ilegally imprisoned and that their “right to liberty” under the European Convention on Human Rights had been breached when they were held for over seven hours along with thousands of other people.

The concequences of all this, might be a bit grim !!

Pictures of the event, to be seen at:

Pictures of this event, can been seen at the following links

http://tash.gn.apc.org/gal_mayday2001-1.htm

http://tash.gn.apc.org/gal_mayday2001-2.htm

http://tash.gn.apc.org/surv_mday1.htm

http://tash.gn.apc.org/surv_mday2.htm

http://tash.gn.apc.org/gal_action10.htm

” ” Don’t let the bastards grind you down ” ” 🙂

There are around 150 other claims by people held by the police operation which are depending on the test case outcome.

The pair have been given leave to appeal and say they will do so.

03/TLQ/0350 Austin v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis

03/TLQ/0411 Saxby v Same

The full judgement will soon be available here:

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2005

http://www.courtservice.gov.uk/judgments/judg_home.htm#queen in the near future

* * * * * *

Guardian Articles about it:

May Day detainees lose damages case

Agencies
Wednesday March 23, 2005

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1444240,00.html

Two people who were detained during a May Day protest for more than seven hours without food, drink or toilet facilities today lost a high court damages action against the police.
The case was brought by demonstrator Lois Austin and office worker Geoffrey Saxby, who were among about 3,000 people corralled in Oxford Circus from 2pm until 9.30pm by riot police during an anti-globalisation demonstration in 2001. Another 150 claims were hanging on the case brought by Ms Austin and Mr Saxby.

The pair claimed damages for false imprisonment and a breach of their right to liberty under the European Convention. They said that the police action caused them distress and alarm, and left them feeling humiliated and intimidated.
Today Mr Justice Tugendhat ruled that the police had been “duty bound” to impose an absolute cordon to prevent violence and the risk of injury to persons and property. It was not practicable for the police to release the crowd collectively earlier than they did, he said.

“It is obvious from the videos of the three previous English demonstrations that on May Day 2001 there was a real risk of serious injury and even death, as well as damage to property, if the police did not control the crowd. Those at risk included members of the public, police officers and other demonstrators,” he said in his written ruling. “The organisers’ literature could reasonably be understood as incitement to looting and violence, and it was hard to understand it in any other way. The belief of the police was clearly reasonable.”

Ms Austin and Mr Saxby were given permission to appeal today’s decision.

During the hearing of the case the court had heard how Ms Austin, 35, who was still breastfeeding, was not allowed to leave to collect her 11-month-old daughter from a crèche and had to arrange for a friend to collect the baby. She had travelled into central London from Southwark with her partner to attend the peaceful protest.

Mr Saxby, 48, who was working for a company selling data recording equipment, claimed police ignored him when he told them he was not involved in the demonstration, and was merely in the area to make a collection from a bank for his employer. He was caught up when he got off a slow-moving bus and complied with police requests not to take certain routes as he walked to Oxford Circus on his way to a restaurant. He was under the impression that there was a security alert of some sort.

Their counsel, Keir Starmer QC, told the judge that the lack of toilet facilities led to “inconvenience and distress”, with many individuals inevitably being forced to urinate in front of others in the crowd and police officers. That, he said, was relevant to the reasonableness of the action taken by the Metropolitan police and the question of damages.

“Our broad position is that there is no power to detain those who are not presenting any danger to the peace. Transitory detention might be justified in certain circumstances but seven-and-a-half hours without a toilet is unreasonable and certainly not transitory,” Mr Starmer said.

Ms Austin, who was present in court, said after the decision: “It is a disappointing judgement in terms of the right to protest in this country. We are worried that protesters are being criminalised for going on the streets and making their protests heard against war and world poverty.”

Her solicitor, Louise Christian, said the judge had found that the claimants were effectively imprisoned, but that on the particular facts of this case the police were justified in doing so.

“The police are looking at this as a test case on whether they can detain people in other circumstances,” she said. “Hopefully the court of appeal will take a different approach, otherwise the problem will be that the police will see this as a green light to use this tactic again.”

In a statement, police said: “The MPS believes that in the circumstances present on May 1 2001, we were duty bound to protect public safety through implementing this containment in Oxford Circus. For us not to take this action would have run a very real risk of serious injury to the public and our staff, looting and widespread criminal damage.”

Scotland Yard added that the organisers of the May Day protest had “contrived to make the policing of the day as difficult as possible by refusing to even communicate with us.”

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: “Today’s judgement should alarm anyone who believes in the right to protest or that people should not be detained en masse like cattle. We do not believe that the reasoning will survive the court of appeal’s anxious scrutiny.”

* * * * * *

Two fail in May Day test case

Rosie Cowan
Thursday March 24, 2005
The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1444342,00.html

A breastfeeding mother and an office worker detained during a May Day protest for more than seven hours without food, drink or toilet facilities lost a high court claim for damages against the Metropolitan police yesterday.
The test case brought by Lois Austin and Geoffrey Saxby is now likely to go to the court of appeal.

The two were among about 3,000 people who were corralled in Oxford Circus, central London, from 2pm until 9.30 by police during the anti-globalisation demonstration in 2001. Ms Austin, 35, from Southwark, south London, was a protester but Mr Saxby, 48, from Hastings, East Sussex, was on an errand for his employer.

Both claimed damages for false imprisonment and a breach of their right to liberty under the European convention on human rights. Both were given permission to appeal. But Mr Justice Tugendhat ruled that the police’s actions were justified.
Ms Austin was not allowed to leave to pick up her 11-month-old daughter from a creche and Mr Saxby claimed police ignored him when he told them he was not involved in the demonstration.

Ms Austin said: “We are worried that protesters are being criminalised for going on the streets and making their protests heard against war and world poverty.”

Her solicitor, Louise Christian, said: “Hopefully the court of appeal will take a different approach, otherwise the problem will be that the police will see this as a green light to use this tactic again.”