Longstanding readers will recall my post from the end of April in which I drew attention to the case of Simon Moore, the Save Leyton Marsh activist who was faced with an ASBO banning him from (amongst other things) “Taking part in any activity that disrupts the intended or anticipated official activities of the Olympic games or Diamond Jubilee celebrations.”
Simon was arrested in Windsor on Monday, apparently for breaching the terms of this order. He was part of a group of people trying to set up a self-sufficient eco-village on unused land that is part of the Crown Estate, i.e. in the vicinity of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations (even though these have now ended) and in the vicinity (ie about 5 miles away from) the venue of the Olympic rowing and flatwater canoe/kayak events, even though these don’t start for another month.
The above photo shows Simon with a group of fellow “Diggers” shortly before his arrest – and a long way from any Olympic site.
Details of where Moore is being held, or the basis under which he is being held, are still vague but some information can be found on London Indymedia at https://london.indymedia.org/articles/12392 and https://london.indymedia.org/articles/12379
Two things we can say for certain: the first is that the ordinary practice of the Magistrates’ Court, when sentencing for a breach of a post-conviction ASBO, is to sentence the person to imprisonment.
The second is that Moore’s order is too widely-drawn and offends against even the limited legal protection which the courts offer in Asbo cases – namely that an order should only be made to prohibit a specific form of conduct, closely tied to the accused’s previous behaviour. To expand an “anti-Olympic ASBO” into an order prohibiting protest within several miles of an Olympic event that is not due to take place for six weeks is to expand the order into an all-purpose prohibition on “thought crime”.
I am sure all my readers will join me in sending solidarity greetings to Simon. His detention is another small sign of how the Olympics are changing Britain: for the worse.
Save Leyton Marsh has now reported that Simon was released on bail today, but is bailed to attend Westminster Magistrate Court this Thursday at 9.30am, where there is likely to be a full hearing of an application to convert his present interim ASBO into a full (i.e. 2 year) order. There will be a protest outside that hearing. I would encourage everyone who is available to attend.