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  • Writer's pictureLondon Catholic Worker

Belated news about action and court

On February 13th, Ash Wednesday, a number of Catholic Workers were among over 100 people went to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to call for and pray for repentance from the sin of the possession and threat of use of Trident, the British nuclear weapons system of mass destruction. As part of the liturgy, 5 CWs (Mirjam Johanssen, Henrietta Cullinan, John Lynes, Martin Newell and Scott Albrecht) marked the walls of the MoD with blessed charcoal. See pictures below. There were no arrests.

The witness continued on the Monday of Holy Week: `Cleansing of the Temple Monday', when Martin Newell returned to mark the walls again. He was arrested, charged and bailed. On returning to Whitehall on Maundy Thursday for the CW organised `Stations of the Cross of Non-Violent Love', Martin was arrested for breach of bail conditions, detained for 2 days and re-bailed at Westminster Magistrates Court on Holy Saturday March 30th.

Photo of Martin Newell being arrested at the Ministry of Defence, Whitehall, London. The words say God Says Disarm Trident Nuclear Bombs - Trident = Death Machine - God is Peace and Love

On April 10th Martin went to Westminster Magistrates Court for a plea hearing. He pleaded `not guilty', while agreeing that he had written on the MoD walls as described. On agreeing the evidence, and due to the District Judge's reading of English legal precedent (the case of Jones), interpreted to mean that he had no legal defence, the case was heard that day. The Judge gave Martin plenty of time to give his evidence, during which Martin said that despite this reading of the law, he did not believe he had done anything wrong. And that since `mass destruction' was the worst thing that could possibly happen, if it was the case that preparation for such an act (and such preparation is on-going at the MoD) was not a crime, then the word `crime' has been emptied of meaning. He urged the court to act on conscience and acquit him. Martin was found guilty and given a conditional discharge, and costs and compensation of 205 pounds to pay, which he has no intention of paying. Saturday morning @narcho-refugee football is back!!! Last week's lineup included folks from Africa, Australia, England, Germany, Nowray, Sweden, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

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