At today’s hearing before Westminster Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Purdy issued the ASBO sought by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, making an order limiting Simon’s ability to protest for the minimum period of 2 years required by law.
Unusually, DJ Purdy issued his reasons as a typed document, which have been scanned (although they are not tremendously easy to read) onto the Indymedia website.
As to the merits of the application, Purdy says as little as he could possibly get away with, noting that Simon is personally brave, sincere in his hostility to the corporate take over of the Games, and non-violent.
Purdy granted the application (as almost any district judge would feel obliged to do), but with 2 interesting refinements:
i) Although the order was made for the minimum two year period, Purdy recorded that the order could be dismissed by consent as soon as 17 September, i.e. as soon as the Games have been finally put to bed (and it has to be assumed that if Simon applies for its discharge, that will be granted).
ii) Purdy discharged the old “clause 3” of the order which prohibited Simon from trespassing anywhere. It now appears that it was this particular clause which police in Windsor had relied on when arresting Simon for involvement in a Levellers protest (unrelated to the Olympics) last weekend. That doesn’t take away all the malice of the ASBO, but it does lessen its sting a little…
After the hearing, Simon issued a short statement to the press: ”The effect of this ASBO is to criminalise peaceful protest. There are legitimate issues for concern around the Olympics such as the destruction of Leyton Marsh in East London for a temporary basketball training facility and the ethics and human rights records of corporate sponsors for the games. These punitive and coercive measures will not stop us from peacefully protesting or from doing what is right.”
“I stand by my position that I will continue to do what I think is just even if that means having to live in prison.”