GCN team secures six acquittals in protest case

15 June 2023

Alex McColl and Rosalind Burgin

Rosalind Burgin and Alexander McColl have successfully secured six acquittals for protesters charged with aggravated trespass under s.68 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

The defendants were alleged to have blockaded the entrance and exit gate of a Tameside abattoir owned by Tulip Ltd in September 2020, by locking themselves into large coffins and lying on the road resulting in disruption to the slaughter and processing of pigs on the site.

Through cross-examination of police officers involved in the case and a representative of the company, the defence were able to show that there were fundamental flaws in the prosecution case. The Court also heard evidence of major-non compliances identified at the site by the Food Standards Agency, and allegations of regulatory breaches in relation to animal welfare.

The six defendants were all acquitted on the second day of a five-day trial following a successful submission of “no case to answer”. The judge accepted that the prosecution could not prove that the land the protesters were on belonged to Tulip Ltd and so could not prove that they were trespassing.

The trial took place at Manchester Magistrates’ Court. The group were represented by Rosalind Burgin and Alexander McColl of GCN and Rosalind Comyn of Matrix. Rosalind and Alexander were instructed by Kellys Solicitors.

We are one of the only dedicated protest rights teams outside of London dealing with contemporary protest issues and we are currently inviting applications from barristers of all levels of call who can add value to the protest rights work we do.

To find out more about our work and joining our team watch the video below or go to our Tenancy page.

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