John McDonnell endorses blacklist campaigner on trial over democratic right to protest

June 12, 2016

The trial of Dave Smith takes place in the City of London Magistrates Court on Thurs 9th – Fri 10th June following his arrest for blocking after traffic in Park Lane during a protest against blacklisting of union members in the construction industry. The secretary of the Blacklist Support Group and co-author of the book Blacklisted has been on bail for over 15 months since his arrest on 18th March 2015. The companies involved in the blacklisting have recently admitted their guilt, paid out millions in compensation and apologised for their involvement in The Consulting Association conspiracy in the High Court.

 

Smith does not deny standing in the middle of the central London thoroughfare but is claiming that he has a democratic right to protest and that includes causing minor disruption to traffic. This right being enshrined in Article 10 (freedom of expression) and Article 11 (freedom of assembly) of the European Convention on Human Rights. In fact, Smith is providing video evidence of the incident as part of his legal submission.

Video of the Park Lane protest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLuP7iYDAfg

Video of Dave Smith’s speech outside the court on the first trial date (that was adjourned): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72i1oSHOh48

 

The trial is about whether it is lawful to exercise every citizens’s democratic right to protest.

 

John McDonnell MP, who contacted the police on behalf of Smith on the night of his arrest commented:

“Blacklisted workers have suffered a grave injustice. Direct action has been an essential part of exposing that injustice. The action taken by Dave Smith stands in a long standing tradtion of direct action in this country. I fully support Dave Smith and his colleagues”

 

Dave Smith commented:

“Not a single company director responsible for blacklisting has been forced to appear in court for their role in the scandal. But if blacklisted workers protest about the human rights conspiracy, we could face a criminal conviction. That speaks volumes about the British legal system”.

 

Smith’s pro-bono legal team of John Carl Townsend (barrister) and Liam Dunne (solicitor) of Guney, Clark & Ryan solicitors, were central players in the High Court blacklisting trial. The attached legal ‘skeleton argument’ presented to the court provides an in depth explanation of the legal issues at stake.

 

Attached photos from Guy Smallman (NUJ)

 

Blacklist Support Group protest

9:15am Thursday 9th July

o/s City of London Magistrates Court

1 Queen Victoria Street London EC4N 4XY.

(next to Bank tube station)

 

 

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