Home | Friday 10th September 2010 | Issue 738
HIT THE ROAD, SHAC
Four animal rights activists, Jason Mullan, Nicola Tapping, Thomas Harris and Alfie Fitzpatrick plead guilty on Wednesday to interfering with and blackmailing companies linked to Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) in an attempt to close the animal testing lab down. Two others Sarah Whitehead and Nicole Vosper went guilty at an earlier hearing.
In effect they have pulled the curtain down on what was intended to be a another show trial of the animal rights movement. The trial was scheduled to begin at Winchester Crown Court next week. Two of the activist plead guilty to a lesser charge under the SOCPA legislation.
This was the second major SHAC trial (see SchNEWS 663) and was a result of continuing massive police action against the militant animal rights movement. Many of the movement’s leading figures are now serving long prison sentences.
The judge adjourned the case for pre-sentence reports. A two-day sentencing hearing will take place at Winchester Crown Court on October 21. The maximum jail term for conspiracy to blackmail is 14 years and the conspiracy under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 is five years.
Despite the attacks the SHAC campaign is still going strong - with the major target now being Fortress Finance, a US-based high risk venture capitalist firm who are now HLS’s major backers. Ocean Finance, who are a subsidiary of Fortress found themselves under siege on Monday this week, shutting down their Tamworth HQ.
Meanwhile US activists are keeping up the pressure on Fortress themselves with demos in Washington D.C this week.
* For more on AR prisoners www.alfsg.org.uk