Greenock 1999 Court Reports by day

Greenock 1999 Court Reports


Monday 27th Sep 1999 The lawyers made various requests and the Sheriff adjourned the court for the day. The lawyers and Angie then worked out how much of the Crown prosecution case they are going to agree with the PF.
Tuesday 28th Sep 1999 Jury chosen. 1st prosecution witness, Thomas O’Brian, police photographer. He answered questions about a book of photographs he had taken of Maytime.
Wednesday 29th Sep 1999 Conclusion of cross-witnessing of 1st prosecution witness, Thomas O’Brian, police photographer. 2nd witness introduced, Detective Sergeant Cassidy, MoD police. Discussion about whether or not Francis Boyle could give evidence on Friday. Decision expected tomorrow.
Thursday 30th Sep 1999 Court agreed to hear Francis Boyle on Friday. Continued with 2nd witness, Det Sergeant Peter Cassidy. 3rd witness RN Diver, Robert Thomson talked through a video he took by remote camera of the at the bottom of Loch Goil.
Friday 1st Oct 1999 Professor Francis Boyle testifies. Expert Opinion on International Law.
Monday 4th Oct 1999 Evidence from: the Security Guard who noticed the women onMaytime (eventually!); two policemen who went to Maytime on a police launch and arrested women, policeman who took Mr McPhee (the barge master) out to Maytime to see what had happened.
Tuesday 5th Oct 1999 Continued with 7th Prosecution Witness David Paton, MOD police, 8th Prosecution Witness: Karen Gardener. MOD police, Coulport. 9th Prosecution Witness: Hazel Brooks, MOD police. All cross-questioned.
Wednesday 6th Oct 1999 John Ainslie given permission to sit in court as adviser to defence lawyers. Joint minutes (agreements on evidence between prosecution and defence). 10th Prosecution witness, Ian MacPhee, Maytime Barge Master.
Thursday 7th Oct 1999 10th Prosecution witness, Ian MacPhee, Maytimebargemaster is cross-questioned (John Mayer gets “blood out of a stone!”). Women are acquitted of charge 2 (attempted theft of liferafts). Adjournment for rest of day for consultations before defence case starts.
Friday 8th Oct 1999 Defence case begins. Angie Zelter in witness box, many objections from PF and debates about relevancy. Debate about Judge Ulf Panzer coming to give evidence and Legal Aid Boards refusal to pay his travel expenses. Chief Executive of LAB ordained to appear at court on Tuesday to explain.
Tuesday 12th Oct 1999 Chief Executive of Scottish Legal Aid Board appeared in front of the Sheriff in private. Angie Zelter continues her evidence.
Wednesday 13th Oct 1999 Angie Zelter finished her evidence and was cross examined. Judge Ulf Panzer testified about the German Judges blockade of Mutlangen.
Thursday 14th Oct 1999 Defendant and Danish Peace Activist Ulla Roder, Testifies in Scottish Court
Friday 15th Oct 1999 Professor of Peace Studies said that most analysts accept that it is only luck that has saved us from a nuclear holocaust. A second expert stated that nuclear war was ‘Imminent’.
Monday 18th Oct 1999 An international nuclear disarmament expert claimed that the UK could abandon its reliance on nuclear weapons within 24 hours of a political decision.
Tuesday 19th Oct 1999 The third Trident Ploughshare defendant spoke today. Ellen Moxley compared the Trident nuclear weapon system to the incinerators of the Holocaust and asked the jury to pray about their verdict.
Thursday 21th Oct 1999 Angie, Ellen, and Ulla walked free at 11 a.m. this morning. Sheriff directed jury to acquit on all charges.


Court Report Day 1

Monday 27th September 1999

Summary. The lawyers made various requests and the Sheriff adjourned the court for the day. The lawyers and Angie then worked out how much of the Crown prosecution case they are going to agree with the PF.

There were about 40 people outside the court with a very colourful array of banners and placards.

The case was called at 11.30am. Most of the rows of the public gallery were take up by the potential jury members (about 40 of which 15 will be chosen). 15 supporters were allowed in to sit in the back row.

Two interpreters were sworn in to give accurate interpretation for Ulla.

The Advocates then put forward various requests to the Sheriff.

They asked for an adjournment for the rest of the day so that they could look at the Crown productions (bags of soggy paperwork and assorted items picked up out of the water and found on the shores of Loch Goil). Angie, the advocates and the PF had all lodged a large number of documents, some of it at the last minute, which everyone has to look at.

They also wanted to have a meeting with the PF and Angie so that they could agree a ‘joint minute’ (a kind of contract) on some of the Crown evidence. This means that at least half of the 26 Crown witnesses will not actually have to give evidence.

John Mayer also asked the court on Angie’s behalf if she could have a table to work at as the dock only has a narrow shelf and whether she could have a Mackenzie Friend. This is someone who sits next to her to take notes and help her with her vast array of paperwork.

John Mayer also gave notice to the court that if the Crown case had not finished by Friday he would need to ‘intromit’ Francis Boyle because he was only available to give evidence on that day. When asked by the Sheriff to explain ‘intromit’ to the interpreter he said it meant “stick in”!

The sheriff then said that she agreed to everything that had been requested and told the jurors to come back at 10am on Tuesday.

Court Report Day 2

Tuesday 28th September 1999

Summary. Jury chosen. 1st prosecution witness, Thomas O’Brian , police photographer. He answered questions about a book of photographs he had taken of Maytime.

The advocates asked if John Ainslie (from Scottish CND) could be present to advise them if necessary during the evidence of the Maytime barge master. He is to be called as an expert witness later on in the trial.

The jury was then chosen. Names were pulled from a hat which resulted in 8 men and 7 women.

The advocates said that they wanted the jury to be asked whether they had any family connections with the MOD or any knowledge about the event at Loch Goil.

The PF objected to asking about the MOD.

The sheriff ruled that they should say if there was any reason that they couldn’t be impartial or had any vested interests.

She then instructed the jury about the procedure of the court and the daily timetable and that the trial would last from between 1 and 5 weeks.

The first witness was called, Thomas O’Brian, a police photographer.

The PF then took him through a book of many photographs he had taken of Maytime. These showed the window that was unbolted by the women so that they could get into the lab. And the worktops and shelves which were all EMPTY. There were also pictures of various tools. These tools were then produced in court for the photographer to confirm. John Mayer asked to be allowed to take them from their sealed bags so that he could read the things painted on them. This was granted.

The photographer then spoke about the fingerprints and footprints that he had taken pictures of, for the forensic team.

At 4.30pm court was adjourned for the day.

Court Report Day 3

Wednesday 29th September 1999

Summary. Conclusion of cross-witnessing of 1st prosecution witness, Thomas O’Brian , police photographer. 2nd witness introduced, Detective Sergeant Cassidy, MoD police. Discussion about whether or not Francis Boyle could give evidence on Friday. Decision expected tomorrow.

The proceedings didn’t start until 10.40am. First there was a discussion about the interpretation. The jury were send back out again whilst this was discussed. Everyone was told to speak a bit more slowly and leave pauses for the interpreters.

The defence advocates then asked if the court would give permission for Francis Boyle to be heard on Friday, even if the PF hasn’t finished his case. The PF said that he hadn’t had time to consider his answer to that issue because he had been “deluged with documents”. He wasn’t yet entirely satisfied of the relevancy of all the documents that had been lodged. He said that he needed time to consult the authorities to see whether it was competent to insert Francis Boyle at that point in the proceedings.

The sheriff said that she would leave it for the PF to consider overnight and she would make a decision after hearing his submission on Thursday morning. (just as Francis Boyle comes in to land at Glasgow Airport!!)

The jury were then brought back in and they resumed the cross examination of Thomas O’Brian, the police photographer.

John Mayer asked him whether he was surprised when he got to Loch Goil, that he had to take a boat and at how big Maytime was. He said that O’Brian knows how large and complex Maytime is, but the jury cannot tell that from the photographs. Mayer asked O’Brian to look at the Tridenting It Handbook, one of the productions because it had been left behind on the barge. Mayer then asked O’Brian to look at the diagram of the Trident submarine, and explain how the Trident submarine would compare to the length of the court. O’Brian replied that a Trident submarine would be seven or eight times the length of the court.

John McLaughlin asked O’Brian about what was written on the four banners that the women had left on Maytime. They were unfurled and displayed in court.

The second witness was called, Detective Sergeant Cassidy from the MoD police. He had been summoned to Coulport to interview the three women at about 3am. The PF took Cassidy through a transcript of the taped interviews. The three women were completely open about what they had done and explained their actions.

Trial adjourned for the day. The Sheriff requested an early start on Thursday (tomorrow) but the clerk replied that the women would not arrive from prison until 10am. Mayer pointed out that the women had to spend around three hours travelling in each direction, and asked why some alternative arrangement could not be made. The Sheriff replied that it was out of her control.

Court Report Day 4

Thursday 30th September 1999

Summary. Court agreed to hear Francis Boyle on Friday. Continued with 2nd witness, Det Sergeant Peter Cassidy. 3rd witness RN Diver, Robert Thomson talked through a video he took by remote camera of the at the bottom of Loch Goil.

The trial resumed at 10.15am. The jury were sent out whilst the advocates asked for a ruling about whether Francis Boyle could be heard as an expert witness on Friday.

The PF said that he wasn’t sure of the procedural competency, but that he wouldn’t object providing that it was understood that he didn’t necessarily accept that all his evidence was relevant.

Jury returned. Continued with 2nd witness Detective Sergeant Peter Cassidy. He was present when a Navy diver used a remote control camera to video the equipment laying on the loch bed. He identified some of the crown productions which were things recovered from the shores around Loch Goil.

John McLaughlin questioned him about his interview with the women on the night of the action. His replies made it clear that they had been very open about what they had done and very clear about their reasons.

He was then asked about Newt (the other vessel moored in Loch Goil), but said that he couldn’t answer anything about that because of security implications.

The jury and witness were then sent out while there was a debate about whether DS Cassidy should be made to answer the question. A document can be lodged with the court to say why a witness should be given immunity. No such documents have been lodged in this case. During an adjournment the PF agreed that he would concede that there was a link between Newt, Maytime and Trident and that this would be read to the jury.

When the court resumed the sheriff ruled that the witness should answer a different question. Instead of “What does Newt do?” he asked “Is there a direct link betweenNewt and Trident?”. However, Peter Cassidy refused to answer this too!

John McLaughlin then read out the bit about DERA (who run Maytime) from the joint statement that the women had on them at the time of their arrest. He asked Cassidy if he knew what that was about and he said that he did. He asked him if he had seen the Trident Ploughshares Handbook and had been briefed on it. He said he had read it but couldn’t comment on MoD police operational matters!.

Angie then asked him if he was aware that Loch Goil was a potential disarmament site. He wouldn’t answer. She then made him read out the paragraph from the Handbook about Loch Goil. Then they looked at the page about the legal status of nuclear weapons. He agreed that he had met Angie on other occasions. She asked “Have you ever taken my reports of the illegality of Trident to your superiors and asked their advice?”

He replied “No”, although he couldn’t say why he hadn’t. Angie asked him would he now take her complaint about gross breaches of International Law to his superiors. He said he would pass on her request!

The 3rd witness was then called: Robert Thomson, a Royal Navy diver. They then showed the video he took with a remote submersible. It showed loads of equipment on the bed of the loch with little fishes swimming about, starfish and sea anemones. He said that to recover it all would have taken 7 men a week.

They then adjourned for the day so that Angie and the legal team could speak to Professor Francis Boyle in preparation for tomorrow.

Court Report Day 5

Friday 1st October 1999

Summary. Defence Witness and US international law expert Professor Francis Boyle testifies.

These are not a word for word record, but will give a fair idea of the proceedings. After the trial Trident Ploughshares will obtain a full transcript.

FB = Professor Francis Boyle; AZ = Angie Zelter (defending herself); JM = Advocate John Mayer, representing Ulla; JMc = Advocate John McLaughlin, representing Ellen; PF = Procurator Fiscal (prosecution)

Dispense with interpreters as Prof. Boyle only here for today.

Go through credentials.

Long debate on relevancy of evidence.

Sheriffs ruling: I agree with PF that development of law may not be relevant. I need to be satisfied on immediate necessity at that time to protect oneself and third parties, and in this particular case, I would wish to hear expert evidence on such necessity.

There is also another matter. Whether the various accused had a right under law to do it and a belief that they were acting according to law, is not sufficient. This case goes a little bit beyond that in respect of Helen John and I have of course read the full decisions in that case.

This case can be differentiated from the Helen John case because at the time of the trial, no real evidence on International Law was produced. Although in their decision, the High Court stated that they had seen the opinion of the ICJ, and noted that they took account of customary International Law, and Humanitarian Law, as well as Charter of UN and relevant International conventions. We do not know what their opinion would have been if they had heard expert evidence on the whole matter.

As a Sheriff I am bound by what the High Court has said in this case, and it will be reflected in any charge to the jury as well as the rest of the law.

If this case goes to appeal, then I think that an experts evidence on International Law on the whole question of nuclear weapons in relation to Scots Law must be before the High Court. So that with all the knowledge they can make a decision. In making this decision I am concerned for the accused rights to a fair trial.

I think it right that I do hear the evidence of Francis Boyle AND any subsequent expert witnesses led by the defence on International Law and necessity at the time.

I am not allowing evidence on the whole history of the peace movement!.

12.30pm Professor Francis Boyle in witness box.

JM: Covered a bit more of Prof. Boyle’s credentials: West Point, books written, lectures, etc.

JM: You will no doubt be familiar with the concept of a Crime against Humanity.

FB: This goes back to the Nuremberg Principles. I have been reading of the Pinochet case in the House of Lords and the Nuremberg Principles apply here. They were developed as a result of Hitler’s intent to exterminate people. Tied in to the Nuremberg Principles is the concept of a War Crime, the wanton devastation of a city or district.

JM: Did Nuremberg only outlaw killing of people, did it go into planning and the support that that involved?

FB: Yes, it was signed in 1949, in addition to the substantive offences, it also criminalised planning, preparation, conspiracy and incitement.

Our Governments put these in to prevent and deter future such conduct, so that we don’t have to wait until 6 or 10 million are dead before you can act.

JM: When you say “you” who do you mean? First you have to have some idea that such conduct is going on?

FB: Yes it does extend down to ordinary citizens. These principles apply to everyone, all citizens are bound by them.

JM: Bound? Are these 15 people here (points to jury), do they have an obligation to go and do something about a war crime that is about to happen?

FB: It would all depend on your knowledge. If you knew that there was a war crime going on you would have a right, but not an obligation. That rests with the chain of command.

JM: Its not a clear line?

FB: Members of the military have a duty to stop a superior (gave Vietnam example).

Nuremberg was turned into a formal treaty, like other treaties such as the Geneva Conventions, Genocide act, and Geneva Protocols.

JM: I see members of the jury writing. These documents form production number 14, and the jury may see them whenever they please.

JM: What mischief were these principles designed to alleviate?

FB: It goes back to WWII and Nazi atrocities, there were wide gaps in the law to prevent this behaviour.

JM: Splitting of the atom led to atomic weapons. (We have an expert witness later on who has taken lectures from Einstein!) Have atomic weapons became refined?

FB: Development of atomic bombs done in secret, no real attempt to relate that to International Law. After WWII war when thermonuclear bomb developed (like Trident warheads), many nuclear scientists quit, because they took the view that it could only be used for genocide. In fact the Government programme was illegal.

JM: In your opinion, focusing on Trident II, are there any circumstances when the possible threat of use of this kind of warhead on Trident can be legal.

FB: I do not believe so. I agree with the scientists. It cannot be used in any lawful manner, it is a mass indiscriminate weapon. Ten times Hiroshima. The Geneva Convention requires discrimination between military and civilian targets.

JM: What’s wrong with nuclear weapons causing collateral damage?

FB: Nuremberg prohibits the wanton destruction of a city. A 100KT bomb would destroy a city. Most of Britain’s Trident warheads would be used on Moscow and would kill millions. This is criminal.

JM: So “indiscriminate” is a key word?

FB: Inhumane weapons are also prohibited, and weapons that cause lingering suffering, such as radiation are prohibited. But the main problem is that they are indiscriminate. They are most probably going to be used against a city. You cannot justify destroying a city to get at a military target.

JM: If I build a submarine and armed it with 48 nuclear warheads and kept it in my backyard would that be illegal? Would my possession of it be illegal, if it was in my backyard?

FB: They are in your backyard!

They are not just possessed, they are at 15 minutes notice to fire. When the submarines go to sea they are prepared to use them.(here refers to US Tridents, presumes UK the same because we use their technology)

JM: We get them from you?

FB: Yes, well you lease the missiles from us.

JM: We rent them from you!!?

Have you seen the Strategic Defence Review?

FB: No but read the US one.

JM: When Trident is in the water and ready to fire they are ready to go to war, they are on a war footing. They are not there for fun, they are there for war?

FB: Yes.

PF objects, JM withdraws the question (which has already been answered!)

JM: What is illegal about Trident?

FB: The International Court of Justice said that the threat to commit a crime is illegal.

JM: But what about just possessing it?

FB: You don’t just possess it. It is at 15 minutes notice to launch.

The ICJ answered the question, the US and UK Governments are acting illegally. The World Court ruled that if the use is illegal, then the threat is illegal.

JM: But we’re members of the UN?!

FB: The development of nuclear weapons is done in secrecy, it is never approved by lawyers.

JM: We’ve grown up with that culture, but people know more about them now?

FB: It all started in wartime, even the vice-president didn’t know about them until the president died.

JM: Has any country that possesses Trident ever initiated on open court case on there legality.

FB: At the World Court proceedings all the nuclear weapons states showed up. Both the USA and the UK tried to argue scenarios for using nukes. The WC refused to endorse any of these scenarios as legal. Not one of the nuclear weapon states tried to justify using nuclear weapons against cities.

Adjourned for lunch. Court resumed at 2.20pm with Professor Francis Boyle in witness box.

JM began by establishing that FB was an expert on nuclear weapons policy, nuclear targeting and an expert on Trident II (certified by an American court as such)

JM: What is International Law?

FB: International Law is part of our law and your law. International treaties, agreements like Nuremberg, a binding part of law. There is also Customary International Law which is like Common Law, that is applied here, it is routinely applied in cases where those matters are relevant.

JM: Apart from US and UK where else does it apply?

FB: Every other country in the world is obliged to obey the principles of International Law. The House of Lords endorsed it in the Pinochet decision.

JM: So International Law is everywhere?

FB: Yes even if you are not aware of it. People are being prosecuted today in the Hague. It is a very living body of law. It is currently being applied in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.

JM: The jury may be able to picture the PM sitting down and signing a treaty. How does Customary International Law apply here?

FB: In the Pinochet case. As far as the Law Lords are concerned the UK is bound by Nuremberg etc.

JM: The principles were originally developed for the Nazi atrocities. The World Court accepts that they apply to the threat and use of nuclear weapons.

I would like to read a passage for comment. It is a quote from an article in the Journal of Medicine, Conflict and Survival entitled ‘Nuclear Weapons and the Law’ written by Ronald King Murray. He is quoting the 1998 Defence Secretary, now Lord Robertson talking about Britain and NATOs nuclear defence policy. The quote will be accurate as the author of the article is the former Chair of the Appeal Court of Scotland.

The PF objects, insists that as he hasn’t seen the article, he wants the jury to retire whilst its admissibility is discussed. JM withdraws the question.

JM: Lets turn to the relationship between the US and the UK re:Trident. Do they talk to each other?

FB: Targets are made in the Joint Strategic Planning in the US in Nebraska.

It’s pretty much decided by the US, The technology is provided by the States, the targets are selected by the US. It is the right of the UK PM to veto things. The UK Trident system functions as an adjunct to the US defence policy. This diminishes British Sovereignty.

JM: So the whole strategy is out of the hands of the British?

PF objects. Sheriff rules that FB can testify on International Law, reasonableness of actions at the time and necessity, so the question is OK.

FB: It’s not entirely out of UK hands, but the percentage of British control is not that great. NATO strategy reports back to the US. The British Government has input.

If an order came to use Trident II, The British Government can disregard the order, but it is pretty much an American show! We own the missiles, they’re our missiles. I regret to say that because I think it diminishes UK sovereignty.

JM: So everyone has a right to prevent these things from causing catastrophe. What would be the effect of asking the British Government to disarm?

FB: Enormous opposition in Washington.

JM: If a citizen could buttonhole the PM and state their case about Trident II. Could the PM legally say “I agree with you, I’ll just do that for you!”

FB: The UK has so much reliance and subordination to the US it would be difficult for any PM to just do it. It would be a very courageous step for any PM. New Zealand did decide after enormous opposition to prohibit any nuclear ships from entering NZ waters. There was bullying inflicted by the US.

Sheriff told FB that he should only confirm what he knew personally. FB said “I believe I can testify what I learned in my professional studies from the normal sources that experts rely upon!”

JM: What is wrong with waiting for the assault to take place and then see where the guilt lies?

FB: Nuremberg said that it’s not just good enough to deal with war crimes retrospectively, they have to prevent crime.

JM: It’s a crime to plan a bank robbery and a different crime to do a bank robbery. In International Law is it a crime to plan Genocide?

FB: Yes, and conspiracy is a crime too.

JM: If I threaten my learned friend with the point of my pen (waves pen at John McLaughlin’s head!) It would be a crime?

FB: Yes, but they are pointing the shotgun at millions of people. The British nuclear weapons will be used against Moscow. They could kill 8 million people, almost everyone there.

JM: We wouldn’t know the names of the people who would die. At what stage do you think it’s deployed?

FB: Some of these submarines are capable of launch in the dock.

JM: These missiles are always employed?

FB: They are always ready to be used.

Questioning begins now by John McLaughlin

JMc: Is it fair to say that you can comment on Trident targeting policy because of the link between US and UK?

FB: Yes.

JMc: Have the General Assembly of the UN approved the Nuremberg Principles?

FB: Yes, they were unanimously approved by the UN.

JMc: What is the difference between nuclear weapons in general and Trident II?

FB: You have to consider the nature of Trident II. It is the most powerful nuclear weapon in the world. It is an offensive first strike weapon. It’s primary purpose is mass destruction – MAD. I do not see how Trident can be used without falling foul of all legal principles.

JMc: Not even in self defence?

FB: Not even for that, even then it still must comply with International Law. Both the US and the UK have only big weapons. Both Judge Higgins(UK) and the US judge at the World Court condemned the use of nuclear weapons on cities. Trident is designed for wanton destruction of towns and cities.

JMc: Explain strategic, sub-strategic and the place of Trident in that.

FB: Tactical nuclear weapons had the explosive power of Hiroshima. When scientists moved to thermonuclear devices they could only be used for genocide. Britain has said that they might put a lower yield bomb on a Trident missile.

JMc: You are saying that the way that Trident II is used it is a threat.

FB: That’s the whole purpose of targeting.

Questionning begins now by Angie Zelter.

AZ: Sir Nick Lyell stated to the ICJ, “If all other means are insufficient… are there limits to justified self defence?”

FB: Even if you are acting in self defence, you must obey the rules of International Law.

AZ: Are there any intransgressable rules of International Law?

FB: Even in extreme cases of self defence, Geneva Conventions, etc, must be obeyed.

AZ: Is it permitted for the UK to defend it’s vital interests?

FB: This is the same argument that the Nazis used at Nuremberg. US officials use this argument too!

AZ: Can you comment on the threat to use say a 1KT weapon as a warning shot?

FB: The World Court refused to endorse that scenario.

AZ: In your opinion is there an ever present danger to life?

FB: Yes, there are many near launches. They are not on a fail safe system, they’re on a fail deadly system. The situation is extremely dangerous. You are reading today about Japan, accidents DO happen.

AZ: Does a state like the UK which deploys nuclear weapons and engages in research for the next generation comply with the Non-Proliferation Treaty?

FB: There have never been any good faith efforts by any nuclear weapon states to fulfil their obligations, except maybe Gorbachov.

AZ: The UK Government says it’s not breaking the law. Can this be true?

FB: The Nazi’s said that they were just carrying out their domestic law. This defence was rejected. You simply cannot just plead domestic law to excuse violations of International Law.

Questionning begins now by Prosecution

PF: Can some of these weapons can be legitimately held?

FB: No, I cannot see any, and where Trident II is concerned I have no reservations.

PF: So it’s your view that all nuclear weapons are illegal?

FB: All strategic weapons are illegal. I said this in the Soviet Union.

PF: Did the World Court say that.

FB: They didn’t answer that question.

PF: Para 105 2b. Did they say nuclear weapons are illegal in all circumstances?

FB: As such.

The PF then tried to argue deterrence theory with Prof Boyle and the old myths about how bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war!

FB said that the fact that no nuclear bombs had been used since 1945 was “by the Grace of God”

JM re-examined to let FB make the point that you can’t just pluck out bits of the ICJ Opinion.

Court Report Day 6

Monday 4th October 1999

Summary. Evidence from: the Security Guard who noticed the women onMaytime (eventually!); two policemen who went to Maytime on a police launch and arrested the women; and the policeman who took Mr McPhee (the barge master) out to Maytime to see what had happened.

4th Prosecution Witness: Mr Mackenzie, MOD Civilian security, based at Douglas Pier.(The shore facility at Loch Goil)

Confirms that Maytime is 500 metres out in the loch and run by DERA.

He saw the drifting inflatable and phoned around to see if contractors were working. He then noticed someone on Maytime and phoned some more people including Mr McPhee, the Barge master. When he looked again he saw something being thrown from Maytime, and saw objects in the water. He then called the Marine Unit, MOD Police. Before they arrived he heard loud metallic banging coming from Maytime.

JM questioned Mr Mackenzie and ascertained that Newt is about a quarter the size ofMaytime, can connect to Maytime, but on June 8th was laying North of it. He said he had seen Trident submarines in Loch Goil but not near Maytime.

JMc questioned Mr Mackenzie about the basic facts. He said that he had been given a TP2000 briefing but had not seen the handbook.

5th Prosecution Witness: James Stephen Byers. MOD police, Clyde Marine Unit, Faslane.

He was on police boat Agility just off Coulport when a radio message sent them to Loch Goil. They came across the deflated dingy and secured it, then continued toMaytime. They arrived at 11pm, and could see three ‘ladies’ on the top deck. Another officer walked around Maytime and decided that “a crime had been committed!” He described some of the damage that he could see. The women were arrested and taken onto Agility where he made them tea!

He repeated various comments that he heard them make about “doing a good job” and trying to use the life raft to get to shore.

JM questioning. Mackenzie had been patrolling since 1991 and Newt didn’t mean anything to him! He answered a lot of questions about the general atmosphere being light hearted and friendly.

JMc Confirmed again with Mackenzie that the women were co-operative. He had seen photos of at least one of them before. He had seen the Handbook. He had been briefed on TP2000 and said that intelligence is being collected and passed on. He said he could have been wrong about hearing Angie say that they were trying to get to shore with the liferaft, it could have been to Newt.

Angie Questioned him about the liferaft so that she could bring out that she had saidNewt.

6th Prosecution Witness: Donald Blair, MOD police, Clyde Marine Unit.

His duties are mainly on the water.

He went to Maytime on police launch Agilty, gave similar reports as others, including that they said they had intended using the liferafts to get to shore.

JM Questioned Blair about liferafts.

7th Prosecution Witness: David Paton, MOD Police, Clyde Marine Unit.

Went to Loch Goil on Inflatable. Was with Mr McPhee when he arrived at Maytime. He looked at photos and agreed that the lab was by then devoid of all movable objects! McPhee had asked for the banners to be taken down. McCallum later told them to put the banners back up.

Court Report Day 7

Tuesday 5th October 1999

Summary. Continued with 7th Prosecution Witness David Paton, MOD police, 8th Prosecution Witness: Karen Gardener. MOD police, Coulport. 9th Prosecution Witness: Hazel Brooks, MOD police. All cross-questioned.

Continued with 7th Prosecution witness David Paton, MOD police.

John Mayer questioning Paton about taking Mr MacPhee out to Maytime. Asked about the broken coffee cup in some of the police photos, and whether MacPhee could have done it. He said that MacPhee was angry, but controlled. He took the banners down at MacPhees request, to save embarrassment if the press were in the area and had to put them back up after phoning the Duty Officer. MacPhee was concerned that some of the equipment couldn’t be replaced.

John McLaughlin questioning Paton about the absence of anything movable left onMaytime. Confirmed from photos that in fact all the safety equipment: life jackets, lifelines, fire extinguishers, first aid cabinets, were still in place.

A joint minute on the value of the property is being prepared, which will save the jury from hearing a day’s evidence on invoices.

8th Prosecution Witness: Karen Gardener. MOD police, Coulport.

Was on duty at process centre, searched women. Talked about their rucksacks with tools in.

9th Prosecution Witness: Hazel Brooks, MOD police.

Recorded interviews with women. She talked about these and then they were played to the court. Mostly the women replied to questions with information about what they had done and International Law.

Angie asked her if she had met her before, she said yes on several occasions. Angie asked why she hadn’t taken any action about her reports of a crime being committed. Hazel said that she is only concerned with Scots Law not International Law!

Court Report Day 8

Wednesday 6th October 1999

Summary. John Ainslie given permission to sit in court as adviser to defence lawyers. Joint minutes (agreements on evidence between prosecution and defence). 10th Prosecution witness, Ian MacPhee, Maytime Barge Master

John McLoughlin began by asking that John Ainslie be allowed to sit in the court as an expert witness to give technical advise to the defence lawyers during the evidence of Mr McPhee, the Maytime Barge Master. The Sheriff agreed to this, but will allow McPhee to give advice to the PF during John Ainslie’s evidence next week if he requires it!

Then a number of joint minutes were agreed and given out.

FIRST, concur on:

  1. The property was removed without the owners permission.
  2. That damage mentioned in charges 1 and 3 was done.
  3. All the said property was owned by DERA.
  4. The total cost of replacing/repairing was £80,000 approx.

SECOND, concur on:

  1. MOD photographer took some photos of liferafts.
  2. These photos are now productions.

THIRD, concur on a whole lot of items that were recovered from the water or the shore.

FOURTH, concur on fingerprint evidence.

FIFTH, concur that the forensic report is accurate.

SIXTH, concur on a joint statement left by women, which was then read out.

Resumed after lunch with 10th Prosecution Witness: Iain MacPhee, Bargemaster of Maytime. PF questioning.

MacPhee locked up Maytime and went home at 4.30pm, and was called out at 10.30pm. He arrived at Maytime at midnight and went round it with the police.

With the use of the photo book the PF took him through the damage and ’empty’ worktops and shelves etc. They then showed the video of the bed of the loch again, with MacPhee identifying items and discussing what damage would be caused by them being immersed in 60 metres of sea water!

Court Report Day 9

Thursday 7th October 1999

Summary. 10th Prosecution witness, Ian MacPhee, Maytime bargemaster is cross-questioned (John Mayer gets “blood out of a stone!”). Women are acquitted of charge 2 (attempted theft of liferafts). Adjournment for rest of day for consultations before defence case starts.

Witness Iain MacPhee, Maytime Bargemaster, being questioned by John Mayer.

JM asked MacPhee about the night he went out to Maytime and found nearly everything missing or damaged. He claimed that none of the equipment was critical and that the work of Maytime was not effected by its loss. Neither DERA or the MOD were put to any inconvenience by the removal of the equipment. After some intense questioning he eventually conceded that on a scale of 1 to 10, the inconvenience caused was about 5!.

JM then asked him about the importance of the work of Maytime, which he completely played down. JM got him to read from the printout of the DERA website which the women left on the table in Maytime. It says that DERA is a prime supplier of technical advice to the MOD, which JM eventually got MacPhee to agree to.

MacPhee then said that he knew nothing about websites. JM asked him if someone had told him what to say in the court. He said no, but not very convincingly!

JM then asked about the work of Maytime. After a lot of evasion he managed to extract from MacPhee that Maytime does acoustic research. The objective is to increase or reduce the return signal (i.e. to make submarines harder to detect).

They then moved on to Newt, which MacPhee said was for taking “inwater acoustic measurements” on all classes of submarines including Trident, specifically Vanguard.

He doesn’t do the research on Trident, the visiting scientists do that.

At this point MacPhee had been so obtuse in his answering that JM said “I’m not performing cross-examination this morning, but dentistry !!”

They went back to the website printout and MacPhee had to read out various bits about the role of Maytime and Newt.

John McLaughlin questioning. Asked MacPhee about the photo of the smashed equipment on Maytime that was the power supply to Newt and the quotation from the engineering consultants for fixing it. They looked at the list of items missing fromMaytime, which included “data from Newt hull surveys.”

JMc again got MacPhee to refer to the website printout and the links between Maytime,Newt and Trident. He asked “Is Loch Goil a key facility for submarine acoustic work?” and MacPhee answered “Yes”.

They agreed that MacPhee could go, but might be recalled later in the trial.

The Crown case was then closed and John Mayer submitted that there was “no case to answer” on charge 2 (attempting to steal two liferafts). The PF made no objection and they are therefore acquitted of that charge.

They then asked for an adjournment for the rest of the day for joint consultations to take place. This was granted.

Court Report Day 10

Friday 8th October 1999

Summary. Defence case begins. Angie Zelter gave a moving account of her reasons for carrying out this disarmament action. At several points the Procurator Fiscal tried to prevent her from giving evidence with debates about relevancy. She was successful in having pictures showing the effects of the Hiroshima bomb shown to the jury. Debate about Judge Ulf Panzer coming to give evidence and Legal Aid Boards refusal to pay his travel expenses. Chief Executive of LAB ordained to appear at court on Tuesday to explain.

John Mayer began by saying how important Judge Ulf Panzer was to the defence case, and that he had already been here once and because the Crown case wasn’t finished had to go home to Germany again. John had asked the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) to pay for Ulfs return visit and they had refused. John then asked the court to cite the Chief Executive of SLAB to come and explain to the court why they wouldn’t pay up. The alternative was to adjourn the trial whilst there was a judicial review of the case. There was then a debate about the relevancy of Ulf Panzers evidence. The Sheriff ruled that she would hear Ulf Panzer and that she would ordain the Chief Exec of SLAB to come to the court on Tuesday.

The defence case then began with Angie giving evidence from the witness box. She was allowed to read from her notes and explained that her actions were not done on a whim or in anger. She began to tell of her early involvement in CND and hearing directly from some of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and wanted the jury to have copies of the booklet ‘Hibakusha’, photos of Hiroshima. At this the PF objected and said that it wasn’t relevant to submit pictures of something that happened 54 years ago. Angie argued that she had submitted the list of documents to the court at the pre-trial and that anyway this booklet was left behind on Maytime and was a Crown production that the jury had already seen.

The sheriff said that she had already made certain rulings on what was relevant. Angie’s case wasn’t based on sincere belief although she recognised that obviously Angie had that. Under Scots law there were very limited circumstances when a crime can be committed to prevent another crime. Angie should limit herself to Int Law and expediency. There was an adjournment whilst Angie worked out what she would be allowed to say.

Angie began again with information about the effects of nuclear testing on the Pacific Islanders, although she cut it short to avoid being stopped. She then went on to talk about nuclear accidents and the PF objected. Another debate ensued; the sheriff looked at Angie’s list of accidents and said that she could read to the jury the items that could be confirmed and could say that she had read others which contributed to her state of mind.

John McLaughlin said that Angie’s evidence was part fact and part supposition, she doesn’t have direct experience of it all, and these matters could be dealt with by expert witnesses. However, she does need her evidence to not be disjointed and therefore relevant hearsay should be allowed. There was more discussion on what was relevant and eventually Angie was allowed to continue. She covered accidents, read part of General Lee Butler’s speech. She spoke about attempts to take the government to court and Pax Legalis, and the ICJ Opinion. She then went through the highlights of the ICJ and the dissenting opinions, the Shimoda case where the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was found to be a war crime.

Court was then adjourned until Tuesday (Monday is a Greenock Bank Holiday)

NOTE: Angie’s full defence can be seen without the cuts made by the court. It explains many of the points mentioned above.

Court Report Day 11

Tuesday 12th October 1999

Summary. Chief Executive of Scottish Legal Aid Board appeared in front of the Sheriff in private. Angie continues her evidence.

Over the weekend Ulla was feeling unwell, and yesterday (Monday) requested a doctor which the prison refused. So the court police sent a request for a Greenock doctor to come to the court.

The Chief Executive of the Scottish Legal Aid Board met with the sheriff and the lawyers behind closed doors. SLAB has decided to pay Ulf’s travel expenses. The sheriff then made some comments in open court about the procedures for getting an urgent review of SLAB decisions, without the Chief Executive turning up at courts all over the country! The court adjourned until 2pm for Ulla to see a doctor and for the medication to take some effect.

Angie back in the witness box. Angie continued from Friday talking about how the British Trident system was illegal in terms of its targeting and it’s destructive power. She described the effects of using Trident on Moscow.

Angie then wanted to show the “Tri-denting it” video. The PF objected on the grounds that it included interviews with people who could not be cross-examined. Angie did not insist on it being shown but explained that it illustrated the complete openess of the campaign. She then went on to the attempted dialogue with the Government before the direct action campaign began. She read part of the last letter to Tony Blair which describes the effect of one Trident warhead on Polyarni, a town in Russia. Throughout the interchange of letters the government has failed to give a single example of how a Trident missile could be used lawfully.

Copies of the pledge were then handed out to the jury and Angie read it out to them.

Court was then adjourned for the day.

Court Report Day 12

Wednesday 13th October 1999

Summary. Angie Zelter finished her evidence and was cross examined. Judge Ulf Panzer testified about the German Judges blockade of Mutlangen.

Angie continued giving her evidence from the witness box. She spoke about what they did on Maytime and how when they had finished they had a picnic and watched a beautiful sunset. The police eventually arrived after they had been on board for over 3 hours. The police took them to Coulport by boat. When they appeared in court at Dunoon the following day Angie made a statement, which she wanted the jury to have, written copies of. It explained why they couldn’t adhere to the bail conditions and had been in HMP Cornton Vale for the last four and a half months.

John Mayer asked Angie whom had written her speech, was it Prof Boyle. When she said she has written it herself he complimented her and asked how long she had prepared for this. She replied 12 years.

JM questioned Angie and gave the opportunity to talk about nuclear tests in Pacific, how international Trident Ploughshares is, the support from MPs, etc.

PF asked Angie if she had thought of standing for parliament, she said that she had been a candidate for the Green Party. Angie said that the most important aspect of the action might yet be to come. If they are acquitted this will send an important message to the Government.

The PF asked whether embarrassing the Government was the motive for the action. He also wanted to know whether they wanted to be caught. Angie said “No, I would have loved some policemen to come along and agreed with us and said ‘let’s go and do something about it!'”. As a Trident Ploughshares activist they had to stay and be accountable.

The PF asked if even part of the motive was publicity. Angie said that everybody who understood what was going on should do something including the PF!

The PF then tried justifying deterrence theory, but Angie had good answers for him. He quoted para 105 2b of the ICJ Opinion which says that nuclear weapons aren’t prohibited. Angie quoted 105 2a which says that they aren’t authorised either! They discussed possession, and Angie said that most other countries considered our nuclear weapons to be a threat.

Adjourned for lunch. 2.20pm Judge Ulf Panzer in the witness box.

First Ulf gave his credentials; being a judge since 1975, attending conferences on International Law, etc.

At the first question about International Law the PF objected and the jury were sent out. After a lengthy debate the sheriff decided that Ulf couldn’t speak about International Law, but he could give evidence on the rights of a citizen to act.

Ulf (and the jury) came back in and John Mayer asked him about Pershing missiles in Germany, and the organisation ‘Judges and Prosecutors for Peace’. He spoke about the conference they organised, the march of 250 judges, (he said “imagine 250 British judges marching around Faslane”) and the advert in the paper which 550 judges signed. He went on to the blockade of the base at Mutlangen that he and 20 other judges carried out, and what the consequences were.

When he finished his testimony the sheriff thanked him for coming such a long way and wished him a safe journey. Ulf asked if he could make a personal remark. She said that it was unorthodox but he could. Ulf then said that he wanted to congratulate her on the wonderful atmosphere in the court and the fair way that she conducted the proceedings. There was then a spontaneous round of applause from those present including the jury!!

Court Report Day 13

Thursday 14th October 1999

Summary. Danish Peace Activist Ulla Roder Testifies in Scottish Court.

In Greenock Sheriff court today, where she is on trial with two other women for disarming a UK nuclear weapons facility, a Danish woman told the jury how an increasing sense of alarm and urgency about the menace posed by nuclear weapons had spurred her on to engage in campaigning and direct action.

Triggered by a new series of nuclear bomb tests in 1995 Ulla Roder (42), a social worker and mother of two from Odense, published a newsletter and collected 4500 signatures for a petition seeking an end to the nuclear arms race. This led to a meeting with the Danish Foreign Minister, Nils Henry Petersen, about the nuclear tests going on in the US. She had also met with the Indian ambassador to Denmark to share concern about Indian’s nuclear testing.

In April 1999 she had written to the Prime Minister, Mr. Rasmussen, to protest about NATO’s expansionist policy and nuclear strategy. When he failed to reply he was sent a “citizen’s summons”, informing him of the illegality of NATO’s nuclear weapons under international law. Although the people of Denmark had voted in a referendum against nuclear weapons on Danish soil, such weapons had been brought into Denmark on US ships with the full knowledge of the Danish government.

Roder said: “I promised myself that that I did not want to be the only one left behind one day, realising that I had done nothing when I knew what could happen.”

When questioned by the prosecutor Roder admitted that she, along with the two other women, had boarded the laboratory Maytime, had damaged a number of items and thrown further items into the sea. She had intended to make sure that they could not again be used as part of the Trident system. Although their action had probably only caused a delay in testing the new Trident submarine, the women were only a part of the Trident Ploughshares campaign and many others were committed to direct action.

Roder did not believe the assurances she had received from the UK ambassador to Denmark that the UK government wanted a “safer world in which there was no place for nuclear weapons.” The same government was even now colluding with the US in developing new nuclear weapons. She concluded her testimony by saying that she had no evil intention when she boarded Maytime on the 8th of June.

Court Report Day 14

Friday 15th October 1999

Summary. Appearing today as an expert witness in the Greenock trial of the three women, a Professor of Peace Studies has said that most analysts accept that it is only luck that has saved us from a nuclear holocaust. A second expert stated that nuclear war was ‘imminent’.

Prof. Rogers, of Bradford University, cited many occasions in which the world had been a hair’s breadth away from nuclear disaster, from the Cuban missile crisis to the recent crisis in Kosovo when Russian missiles were again aimed at NATO targets.

The common view that nuclear weapons were weapons of last resort was a fallacy. Nuclear weapon states such as the UK were in the habit of indicating their potential use in times of tension, for example by sending a Trident submarine to Gibraltar during the most recent Gulf crisis. Even the so-called “sub-strategic” weapons would breach international law by their slaughter of civilians and by spreading radiation round the world.

Civil resistance was capable of achieving change. Australian troops would not have been sent last month as peace-keepers to East Timor had it not been for the demonstrations on the streets of Sydney.

In his view, if Britain unilaterally gave up the nuclear habit, this would be a huge boost for nuclear disarmament world-wide.

The second expert witness of the day, Professor Jack Boag, of the anti-nuclear scientists group Pugwash, explained that the threat of nuclear war was imminent. It was as imminent a threat as the sword which hung above the throne of the Greek tyrant Damocles, held only by a thread and ready to fall at any time.

Detail notes of Professor Paul Rogers in witness box.

John McLaughlin took Professor Rogers through his credentials; Professor at the Department of Peace Studies at Bradford University (largest department of Peace Studies in the world!), author of 15 books, 100 papers, lectured to NATO planning conference, given evidence in 3 Crown Court cases, (including Angie Zelter’s Hawk trial) been interviewed on Newsnight by Jeremy Paxman, etc.

John McLaughlin asked for the composition of the British nuclear weapons system and the PF objected.The jury was sent out whilst legal debate. PF said that even if they were charged with damaging a Trident submarine, he’s not conceding that this would be relevant, but evidence about Trident isn’t relevant to Maytime. The women had said that they hoped to delay tests on the fourth Trident sub, but this didn’t effect its capabilty.

“The jury are not here to judge Britains nuclear defence policy. Despite what we see written outside the court, Trident is not on Trial!”

He thought that there was a danger that the jury could decide based on the history of nuclear weapons, and emotion might come into it. John McLaughlin said that in the High Court Appeal judgement of Helen John, Lord Caulsfield had said that possession was not criminal in Scots Law. This witness was needed to show that Britain did not just possess Trident, it was used as a threat. This witness knew how the system worked, knew about accidents.

John Mayer agreed with all this, adding “The actings of the accused were based on objective understandings, not emotional impetus.” Angie said that Professor Rogers had been a lecturer of hers, she hadn’t been allowed to lead her evidence on accidents, and this expert could speak to that.

Sheriffs ruling: Agreed there was a danger of the jury becoming confused as to the issues, an emotional side which does exist, influencing their decisions. Agreed that evidence on the Cold War was irrelevant. Evidence on accidents has to be presented carefully, “if it becomes too dramatic it runs the risk of effecting the jury’s objective view of the facts.” Although it weighed heavily on the minds of the accused she wanted very cautious, limited evidence, without making it any more harrowing than is necessary.

For the defence of necessity there has to be an immediate danger. She had read the ICJ Opinion very carefully, “It seems that the enigmatic confusion was based on the loose question which was originally put to it. The ICJ could not say whether in all circumstances nuclear weapons would be illegal, because so much would depend on the actual circumstances facing a state or country and whether that state was in imminent danger of destruction.” Before she can make any pronouncement to the jury about threat or use in this case she has to know what the elements were on June 8th, “This whole trial goes far beyond a simple case of malicious damage”.

Professor Paul Rogers and jury return. John McLaughlin questioning.

They covered the composition of Trident system, one Trident warhead equal to eight Hiroshima bombs, etc. Also British nuclear defence policy, allocated to NATO, dominated by US, and that Trident II is a First Strike weapon. They discussed sub-stategic weapons, Prof. Rogers thought even the lowest yield would still be a weapon of mass destruction. Alert status is 15 minutes.

On the subject of deterrence, Prof. Rogers said of the fact that no nuclear weapons have been used since Nagasaki, “most analysts conclude that we were very lucky… Nuclear deterrence can only fail once!”

They then talked about the threat to use. Prof. Rogers gave examples of India and Pakistan, and effects of the Military Coup this week on our alert status. He also talked about the incident with the Norwegian rocket launched to study the polar atmosphere, which nearly initiated a full scale Soviet strike, and the Cuban Crisis. Then Prof. Rogers talked of the NATO exercise in 1983 (when the Soviet leadership was in crisis, the Korean jet had just been shot down and Reagan had just made his “Evil Empire” speech) which the Russians mistook for preparing for the real thing.

Next discussed was targeting, reliance on US technology, and times when Britain has deployed outside NATO, eg. Falklands, Gulf, etc. Prof. Rogers said that the idea of a single small nuclear warhead being used in a far off place is a dangerous illusion. There would always be a risk of escalation. Furthermore the radiation from the atmospheric testing has circled the globe. There would be widespread damage to the environment.

They then went through Production number 5 which was a paper that Prof. Rogers had written on nuclear accidents. They covered the Windscale fire, the B47 bomber crash at Lakenheath, the Palomares crash, etc.

John McLaughlin asked if there were any former leading lights in NATO now taking an anti-nuclear position. Prof. Rogers talked about Robert McNamara and General Lee Butler.

John McLaughlin asked if civil resistance has a capacity to effect change. Prof. Rogers discussed, people power at the end of the Cold War, the ending of the Marcos dictatorship. Also the refusal by the Australian Government four weeks ago to lead a UN force into East Timor until there were huge public demonstrations in Australian cities. In Britain there was the example of abolition of slavery.

John Mayer then asked a few questions.

John Mayer asked Prof. Rogers to look at Production number 8. He explained that it was a request from the White House to the Senate to ratify the CTBT, signed by Bill Clinton. If the Senate didn’t ratify then it wouldn’t come into force. John Mayer asked, “Is this the treaty we saw on the news last night?”. Prof. Rogers said that yes this was the one. The PF objected and John Mayer said “No further questions!”

Adjourned for lunch. Resumed 2.10pm with Professor Paul Rogers in witness box, PF cross examining

PR = Professor Paul Rogers

PF = Procurator Fiscal (prosecutor)

PF: You said Britain has a total of four submarines. Within your expertise can you say at what stage the fourth one is?

PR: It is not yet fully deployed.

PF:Is it fitted out?

PR: It has still to undergo trials, I understand.

PF: How long does it take between launch and sea trials?

PR: Between 6 and 18 months.

PF: So it takes between 6 and 18 months?

PR: A word of caution here, this is not in the public domain, it is a common opinion. But it is very unlikely to be less than 6 months.

PF: In your expertise how many countries other than the UK have nuclear weapons?

PR: There are five declared states – US, Russia, France, China and the UK. India and Pakistan have tested weapons and may be ready to deploy them. Then there is Israel which is commonly believed to have nuclear weapons but has not declared so.

PF: “Declared”, what does this mean?

PR: It means a state has openly admitted it possesses nuclear weapons.

PF: Could they have them and not tell?

PR: Yes, Israel has been in that position since the ’70s. Also South Africa was, but went for unilateral disarmament in the early ’90s.

PF: Any others?

PR: Probably no others who are close to full development, apart from India and Pakistan. Brazil and Argentina had nuclear weapon ambitions, as have North and South Korea, Taiwan and Iran. The former Soviet Union states Belarus, Kazachstan and the Ukraine had nuclear weapons on their soil but all agreed to give them up, in spite of later second thoughts over concern for NATO expansion in Serbia.

PF: Is it possible for a state to have nuclear weapons and it not to be known?

PR: Possible but not likely.

PF: What about verification of those who had given back weapons?

PR: A good example was Kazakstan who freely gave a store of weapons grade Uranium to the US for safe keeping and the US had confidence that that was all.

PF: So the UK and seven others have nuclear weapons?

PR: Yes.

PF: A new crisis is possible at any time and would not need to involve NATO.

PR: Yes, India and Pakistan is an example.

PF: You said earlier that if even a small nuclear device was set off it would not necessarily stop there?

PR: Yes.

PF: So if Britain were to give up nuclear weapons we would still not be out of the woods?

PR: No, indeed, but if Britain were to unilaterally get rid of its nuclear weapons it would be the biggest boost for disarmament in the last 30 years. You have to see it in a wider context than the eight nuclear weapon states. The contribution to disarmament of a unilateral declaration of nuclear disarmament would be significant.

PF: There would be no guarantee that others would follow.

PR: Well, we cannot argue that others should not have them if we ourselves are unwilling to give them up.

End of Cross Examination

Dundee MP John McAllion came to Greenock today to give his support to the three women. He was accompanied by Fiona Macaulay, Parliamentary Assistant to Member of the Scottish Parliament Dorothy Grace-Elder. She brought along a message of support for the women, signed by 25 Members of the Scottish Parliament.

Court Report Day 15

Monday 18th October 1999

Summary. An international nuclear disarmament expert claimed that the UK could abandon its reliance on nuclear weapons within 24 hours of a political decision.

Appearing in the Greenock trial of the three Trident Ploughshares activists charged with disarming a Trident facility on Loch Long in June this year, Rebecca Johnson of ACRONYM, who monitors the global implementation of disarmament treaties, stated that there was no reason for delaying the injunction of the International Court of Justice to bring disarmament negotiations to a speedy conclusion.

Rebecca Johnston explained the consequences of the failure of successive UK governments to fulfil its obligations to disarm under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and how the present administration is continuing to block negotiations. She described how Maytime is an essential part of the Trident weapon system, and how other states perceive Britain’s deployment of Trident as a threat.

Court Report Day 16

Tuesday 19th October 1999

Summary. The third Trident Ploughshares defendant spoke today. Ellen Moxley compared the Trident nuclear weapon system to the incinerators of the Holocaust and asked the jury to pray about their verdict.

Ellen Moxley (63) a peace campaigner from Dollar in Scotland, today gave evidence in the Greenock trial in which she is accused, along with Angie Zelter and Ulla Roder, of disarming a Trident facility on Loch Long in June this year. Moxley said that the threat of nuclear war was just as real and imminent as the threat presented by the preparations for Hitler’s Final Solution. She said: “No-one would be criticised for putting one of Auswitch’s incinerators out of action. Our case is exactly the same.”

She told the jury: “I would like to express my appreciation to this court for the time and resources devoted to this subject. Every day I pray ‘Lead me from darkness to light’ and this court has done that in airing this case. Fundamentally this is a spiritual issue. It’s a question of our relationships with each other and our relationship with this fragile, delicate earth. As well as considering all the testimonies given here I would ask that you pray about these matters.”

Legal submissions to the Sheriff have now begun. A verdict on Thursday of this week is thought likely.

Court Report Day 17

Wednesday 20th October 1999


Summary. Today, Wednesday 20th October 1999, Sheriff Margaret Gimblett has decided to instruct the jury at Greenock Sheriff Court to acquit Angie Zelter, Ulla Roder and Ellen Moxley on the charge against them of damaging a Trident facility in Loch Goil in June this year.

In her remarks the Sheriff effectively said that British nuclear weapons were illegal. The defence had submitted that it had been established that there had been no malice in the women’s action. They had been acting to prevent a crime under international law and so had reasonable excuse. The Sheriff should acquit the women.

The court has been adjourned until tomorrow to allow the consideration of the second part of charge 4 and for the jury to be instructed.

Court Report Day 18

Thursday 21th October 1999