Tag Archives: Violent Disorder

EDL supporters sentenced to 60 years for Walsall disorder

31 men from across the country, aged between 18 and 59, have been given sentences totalling 60 years and eight months for their part in the 2012 disorder which broke out in Walsall following an English Defence League demonstration.

Over 600 supporters of the EDL held a demonstration in the town centre on 29 September last year. A counter demonstration was also held nearby by the Unite Against Fascism group. Police officers had to keep the two groups apart.

EDL Walsall 2012

EDL supporter injured by his own side in Walsall 2012

A number of officers and EDL stewards were injured when the atmosphere turned hostile and supporters of the EDL threw missiles at the police.

The following men have been sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court for their part in the disorder:

Douglas Ralston (53) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months

Darron Davies (49) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 22 months

Neil MacDiarmid (50) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 15 months

Alan Turnbull (32) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 26 months

Stephen Currien (30) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 28 months

Lee Rogers (26) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 24 months

Gary Lycett (55) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 26 months

Jack Lambert (25) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 14 months

Michael Thomas (49) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 28 months

Jack Clark (22) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 16 months

Christopher Boyall (31) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 24 months

Benjamin Banfield (35) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months

Mark Baker (44) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 21 months

Dean Lidster (44) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 28 months

Craig Forward (38) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 25 months

Stephen Bennett (23) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months

Christopher Jelley (28) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 22 months

Myles Smith (39) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 24 months

Nicholas Cooper (28) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 27 months

Peter Kirkham (30) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 14 months

Mark Conroy (35) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 30 months

Kirk Reeves (40) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 18 months

Richard Schulz (38) – found guilty after trial to violent disorder and sentenced to 42 months

Dean Smith (33) – found guilty after trial to violent disorder and sentenced to 27 months

John Cureton (48) – found guilty after trial to violent disorder and sentenced to 36 months

Kirk Jones (28) – found guilty after trial to violent disorder and sentenced to 33 months

Ronald Hatton (59) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months, suspended for two years and 200 hours unpaid work.

Leslie Silk (37) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 18 months, suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work.

Samuel Phipps (18) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 16 months, suspended for two years, 200 hours unpaid work.

Duncan Smith (43) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months, suspended for two years, 200 hours unpaid work.

Lee Coxshall (aged 34) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 14 months, suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.

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“On 29 September, the English Defence League had arranged for their supporters from around the country to assemble in Walsall for a demonstration. It is the right of anyone to hold a peaceful assembly and Article 10 of the European Commission for Human Rights provides the right for freedom of expression; however, on that day, the supporters of the EDL went far beyond freedom of expression or a peaceful assembly.

Fuelled by hate and alcohol, a section of the group, instigated by key figures within the demonstration, began to direct their anger towards the counter demonstration. As police then sought to contain the group, supporters of the EDL began throwing missiles.

Police officers were then exposed to some of the worst violence that they have been subjected to in a public order situation. Concrete slabs, bricks and a table leg were among some of the various items which were used as weapons and thrown at the officers.

Those engaged in such reprehensible conduct paid little regard to what they were doing or who they were attacking, as during their orgy of violence, a number of their own EDL stewards, as well as police officers, were seriously injured.

A year on from those violent scenes those responsible for their actions that day have been arrested, brought to justice and now they have to face the consequences for their actions.”

– Robin Allen, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service

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“Eight held following raids in Walsall and Sandwell over EDL protest violence” (updated)

From the Express and Star March 26

Police swooped on homes across the Black Country today, including two addresses in Walsall, to arrest people suspected of violent disorder during a protest in the town by the EDL.

Police raids in Walsall
Police arrest a suspect following violent disorder that erupted during an EDL protest in Walsall
Eight men aged between 17 and 59 were arrested during the early morning raids.

Police also seized items of clothing.

It comes after violence erupted in Walsall town centre on September 29 during the English Defence League demonstration.

Officers today swooped on homes across the region including Eagleworks Drive in Walsall and a home in Brownhills.

Homes in Walker Street and Alexandra Road in Tipton were targeted, as well as Coles Lane in West Bromwich, Greswold Street in Hateley Heath and an address in Acocks Green.

Officers have been scouring hours of CCTV footage under Operation Spinnekar since the violence broke out.

Suspects were being interviewed today.

Police officers based in Walsall arrest a man in Walker Street, Tipton, as part of investigations into violence surrounding the EDL
Police officers based in Walsall arrest a man in Walker Street, Tipton, as part of investigations into violence surrounding the EDL

Det Insp Pete Dunn, from Force CID, said: “We have viewed a significant amount of CCTV footage and media footage with view to finding the people responsible.

“Since September we have been working to identify others who were involved in the disorder and now we are in a position to make further arrests, whilst appealing for information to identify other suspects we are yet to trace.”

During last September’s protest, in Leicester Street, a number of police officers and protestors suffered minor injuries.

Around 900 police officers were in the town centre as the protest took place, alongside a counter protest in Gallery Square. Thirty people were arrested on the day.

A total of 27 people have since been charged with public order offences.

Further reading: Raids over Walsall EDL violence / Six charged over Walsall EDL demo violence

*Updates on this story:

Three admit roles in Walsall EDL protest disorder

Two men in court on Walsall EDL protest violence

Teenager locked up over Walsall EDL disorder

EDL supporter facing jail term over Walsall protest

EDL supporter gets order for Walsall demonstration chanting

Keep up to date with these stories and more at EDL Criminals – Exposed


Anti-fascist prisoners Austen Jackson and Phil de Souza released

UK antifascist prisoners, Austen Jackson and Phil de Souza have been released from prison. Austen has completed his full sentence and Phil has been released on electronic ‘tag’. Thank you to the many people who have supported them while they were inside. 3 Counties Anti-Fascist Alliance wish them the very best.

Ravi Gill is the only antifascist remaining inside. If you wish to write to him you can find the details on our prisoners support page.


Anti-fascist prisoner Thomas Blak released, but deported

From Leeds ABC:

Thomas Blak is the first of the six UK antifascists to be released, but he has been deported.

Antifascist prisoner Thomas Blak, one of the seven antifascists fitted up in the first Welling trial, has been freed but deported to his home country of Denmark.

Thomas was sent to jail in June, along with five other comrades. Sentences varied from 15-21 months, with Thomas receiving 18 months.

Thomas was refused release on electronic tag, and despite having lived and worked in London for 15 years, he was this week deported.

The five other antifascists remain in jail and it is clear that having failed to fit up any of those in the second Welling trial, the State are determined to punish those they did fit up to the best of their ability.

We hope to publish a statement from Thomas shortly, and in the meantime send him our respect and solidarity. Having been staunch in the face of the State’s attempts to criminalise antifascism, he can hold his head up high.

Details of the five comrades still in jail can be found on our prisoner support page.


Anti-fascist Prisoner Update

Anti-fascist prisoner Thomas Blak has been moved. His new address is:

Thomas Blak
A5728CE
HMP Onley
Rugby
Warwickshire
CV23 8AP

Leeds Anarchist Black Cross have produced a leaflet on the case of the Welling incident, the trial of the anti-fascists and their imprisonment. You can view it here.


Nine anti-fascists acquitted in second Welling trial

Taken from Leeds Anarchist Black Cross

When confronted by a swaggering neo-Nazi at Welling train station in March 2009, Sean Cregan did what any good antifascist would, he put the Nazi on his arse! While twice Sean’s size, one punch was enough for the scumbag fascist, who dropped to the ground as if pole-axed. His neo-Nazi companion quickly fled down the station platform, with Sean in hot pursuit.

The two scumbags had been on their way to a so-called “Blood and Honour” gig, which are regularly held at the nearby Duchess of Edinburgh pub (with the active participation of the fascist landlord with whom the two were to stay). When questioned by police later, the first fascist gave his name as Patrick O’Donovan (this may be a false name since he is German and came over specifically for the gig, which are illegal in Germany). His brave companion gave his name as Michael Heihl.

There had been several unrelated incidents at Welling Station that evening, and the police arrived quickly, arresting several antifascists who were also at the station (or in the vicinity). Some months later, dawn raids took place around the country, with large numbers of cops smashing in doors and arresting other antifascists. Draconian bail conditions were imposed. In total, 23 people were now under arrest in relation to the punching of ‘O’Donovan’.

Since there was no available ‘complainant’ in the case, the cops – the British Transport Police led by Detective Inspector Sam Blackburn – were unable to charge Sean, or any of the other antifascists, with assault. Instead they were charged with ‘Conspiracy to Commit Violent Disorder’. In legal terms, ‘Violent Disorder’ occurs when a person’s behaviour is deemed to be of such a nature that it would cause alarm or distress to someone witnessing it, though in this case nobody had complained and it was ruled that there was not sufficient evidence to additionally charge any of the antifascists with ‘Violent Disorder’ itself.

Charges were dropped against one of the antifascists, a young woman, in the early stages, but because of the sheer number of defendants the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) argued that, for logistical reasons, it was necessary to split the defendants between two trials. Of course this also put the Prosecution at a considerable advantage, particularly as they would be prosecuted by the same individual – Mark Trafford. Both trials would be held at Blackfriars Crown Court before Judge H.O.Blacksell.

The CPS chose to first prosecute not so much those with the most evidence against them, since they have presented no evidence of a conspiracy throughout, but those whom they judged would be most easily convicted. Many of the defendants had been convicted of political activities in the past, and because of these ‘prior convictions’ could not present character evidence in their defence for example. The CPS knew that they could rely on the prejudice and ignorance of the jury (one of whom sported a shirt emblazoned with a large St George’s cross) for some convictions, and sure enough seven antifascists were convicted as charged, with six of them being sent immediately to jail.

As our comrades were sent to prison, the architects of the fit-up were busy congratulating each other. Blacksell, the judge who presided over the charade, said he would be recommending Detective Inspector Blackburn for a commendation – For what, making travel safer for Nazis?! Perhaps Blackburn will get the ‘Iron Cross’! This whole case revolves around one neo-Nazi, who was not a complainant in the case, being put on his arse. For that 23 people were arrested, hundreds of cops were involved in dawn raids, and two show trials were held costing Millions, what a great service to the ‘public’! But of course, this case is about far more than one pathetic fascist.

Immediately before the second trial, charges were dropped against two more of those previously accused of being involved in the ‘conspiracy’, leaving nine more to face trial. The trial began on Monday 12th September, and once again the Prosecution presented absolutely no evidence of a ‘conspiracy’. The jury seemed nonplussed as to why they were there. Once again, the trial dragged on for more than three weeks.

One of the things that came out in the second trial was that a racist Immigration Officer, who acted as a prosecution witness, and who in his police statement described Ravi Gill as having a “typical big Asian head” and “speaking Indian”, lied through his teeth in the first trial. He could not have witnessed the incident as he claimed because when it happened he was not actually there, but outside buying his ticket!

As his attempts to fit up the second group of antifascists began to unravel, Trafford became quite desperate, and at times appeared close to tears. He had pursued the case with personal malice and with a messianic gleam in his eye throughout, and his arrogance led to some verbal fencing with defendants of twice his intelligence which simply left him looking foolish. Bereft of evidence, he simply relied on being able to mislead and prejudice the jury as he had done in the first trial. To this end, Trafford tried to present the neo-Nazis of ‘Blood & Honour’ and the Anarchists and antifascists in the dock as two sides of the same coin, as if the Nazis and partisans of World War Two had some sort of moral equivalence.

This morally repugnant position was rounded on by the Defence in the closing speeches with Trafford pilloried to an unusual extent. Putting the incident firmly in its political and historical context, one of the Defence barristers even went so far as to say that the jury should not only be acquitting the defendants, but thanking them for being prepared to confront organised fascism.

It should be clear that this prosecution was brought to try and smash antifascist resistance (something Trafford has privately made explicitly clear) and to intimidate antifascists from engaging in any form of antifascist activity. The case however, and the way that the ‘conspiracy’ law has been used in it, has huge implications for activists in general, it is an attempt to outlaw any form of protest. Leeds ABC regard it as highly regrettable that the case did not have the massive publicity it warranted from the very beginning.

The jury retired to consider the verdict at 3.00pm today – They were back again less than an hour later to acquit all nine antifascists, treating the prosecution case with the contempt it deserves. The courtroom erupted into cheers and cries of jubilation, with only the judge and prosecutor left looking sour-faced. Tonight as the acquitted and supporters retired to the pub there was every reason to celebrate. Tomorrow is the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street.

We hope that readers will join us in raising a glass – to our comrades who triumphed over this judicial fit-up, to the antifascists down the ages who have been prepared to go out onto the streets to confront fascism, and to our six comrades who were fitted-up earlier this year and who deserve our fullest possible support.

THE PRISONERS

The six antifascists imprisoned in the first trial were originally held in Wormwood Scrubs prison in London, but five have now been moved to other jails in southern and central England. Please send them letters of support at the addresses given below. We expect Thomas Blak to be moved this week and his new address will be published on the Leeds ABC website when that happens. Thomas, who is Danish and has lived and worked in England for 15 years, is also under threat of deportation.

The prisoners may each receive postage stamps and Postal Orders (made payable to ‘The Governor’ and with the prisoner’s name and prison number written on the back). For advice on writing to prisoners please see the Leeds ABC website.

A solidarity fund has been set up to support the prisoners in jail and upon release. All donations, big and small, are very welcome. The fund is administered by Leeds Anarchist Black Cross, a long-standing and reputable prisoner support organisation, and the fund will ONLY be used to support the prisoners directly. If you would like to contribute to the fund please send a cheque (made payable to ‘The Cable Street Society’) to Leeds ABC, 145-149 Cardigan Road, Leeds, LS6 1LJ. Details for bank transfers are:

The Cable Street Society
Sort Code 070093
Account number 33333334
Ref 0827/704169523

We would like to thank the groups and individuals who have already contributed to the solidarity fund, including Antifa England, Brighton & Hove TUC Unemployed Workers Centre, Bristol ABC, Kate Sharpley Library , and Rebel Soul (Shambala Festival).

The Anarchist print co-op Sabcat have also produced two benefit T-shirts in support of the prisoners. They are printed on organic cotton, fair wear, carbon neutral, Earth Positive T-shirts and cost £14.95 including UK postage. Sabcat are donating their labour for free, so apart from the cost of the unprinted garment itself and the postage, all money raised goes to the antifascist prisoners support fund. To order a T-shirt check out the Sabcat website. They will also be available to buy at this year’s London Anarchist Bookfair.

Leeds ABC have produced a solidarity poster (see above) in several sizes, which is being displayed in laminated form in numerous community centres, social centres, pubs, cafes, bookshops, etc. Please contact us with regard to displaying one. You can also download the graphic to display on your website, Facebook page, etc.

Last, but by no means least, a number of revolutionary solidarity actions have been claimed in the names of the prisoners, and we both appreciate and applaud these acts. We should remember that the very best act of solidarity we can offer is to continue to fight against fascism and not to be intimidated or cowed by these latest attempts to stop us resisting.

Solidarity to the antifascist prisoners.

No Pasaran!

For the addresses of the prisoners go to our prisoner support page.


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