17th November 2000
The Lord Advocate’s Reference, which has reviewed the Trident Three trial, has concluded today with the judgment expected in the next four to eight weeks.
Amicus curiae Gerry Moynihan countered the Crown assertion that although the women claimed that they were responding to an imminent threat, they had not done so immediately. He gave the analogy of a person who discovers that his neighbour is a terrorist and has prepared a bomb. He asks the police to act but to no avail. He decides to act himself but does not do so during the night since that would be too risky. He breaks in next day to his neighbour’s house and disarms the bomb.
Later, on behalf of Ulla Roder, Advocate Ian Anderson said that there were no cases in Scottish law which could illustrate the Maytime situation adequately. Instead he turned to an American Ploughshares case, that of Daniel Berrigan and others, which gave the court better guidance on necessity as a defence.
QC Aidan O’Neill, on behalf of Ellen Moxley, submitted that with the limited facts about Trident that the Court had had before it, it was still possible for it to find that Trident was legal but they had been given no evidence to allow them to rule that it was legal. Dealing with another Crown claim that the humanitarian principles only applied to wartime he explained that the formulation of these principles was an affirmation that basic human rights applied even in wartime. It went without saying that people had a right to life in peacetime.
A Trident Ploughshares spokesperson said: “The judges did not allow the full evidence to be presented at this hearing, but even with that restriction the basic case against Trident has come through. That case is so strong and we ask the bench to admit the obvious and rule it unlawful.”