Bankster stooge judge Andrew Shaw's decision on 2015 squat

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Wed Aug 17 16:13:31 BST 2016

Five Love Activists jailed after occupying old Bank of England building on Dale Street
19:18, 17 SEP 2015 UPDATED 21:34, 17 SEP 2015 BY NEIL DOCKING
Defendant protests: “There was a paedophile who got community service the other day and I get custody!”

Love activists outside Liverpool Crown Court.
Five anti-capitalist ‘Love Activists’ were locked up after illegally occupying the old Bank of England building in Liverpool.

John Hall, 50; John Rice, 23; Chelsea Stafford, 19; and James Jones, 20, were today handed 10 weeks behind bars at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court.

James Allanson, 20, who was also sentenced over an incident in Everton Park, was locked up for 13 weeks.

The sentences led to chaotic scenes in and outside the court building, as supporters barricaded the main entrance and clashed with police.

Allanson, of Wetstone Lane, Birkenhead, and his four co-defendants, all of no fixed address, were among a larger group who entered the old bank on April 18.

The court heard the total policing cost of the occupation in Castle Street - part of a protest over lack of support for the homeless and government austerity - was nearly £120,000.

Meanwhile damage caused to the Grade-I listed structure was estimated to have cost its owners up to £46,000.

They obtained an interim possession order on April 28, meaning anyone inside had to leave within 24 hours or face being charged with trespass.

Angie Rowan, prosecuting, said police entered the premises in the early hours of May 12.

The Love Activists occupied the Old Bank of England on Castle Street
The five defendants were all arrested and later pleaded guilty to trespass.

Miss Rowan said during the protest large numbers of people congregated outside, which led to an “influx of vagrants and rough sleeping” in the area.

She said police received numerous reports of anti-social behaviour and “extensive” damage inside the building included graffiti, blocked drains and damage to doors.

Nearby businesses said staff and customers were directly affected and the occupation caused pollution, excessive noise and anti-social behaviour.

The costs to police were £91,500 before the raid, which involved 130 officers and cost an additional £27,000.

The owners estimated graffiti would cost between £5,000 and £10,000 to clean, damaged doors between £4,000 and £5,000 to repair, and rubbish and blocked drains £10,000 to remove.

The owners’ legal costs were £5,000 and they were warned their annual insurance premium of £32,000 will increase by half.

Hall had a previous conviction for possession with intent to supply cannabis, while Rice had a caution for possessing a Class B drug.

Who are the Love Activists?

Jones previously obstructed a highway and Allanson had obstructed officers in Everton Park.

Stafford had no previous convictions.

Richard Brigden, defending Jones and Rice, said they condemned those who damaged the building.

He said: “There is not a shred of evidence that they were involved with that. These are people with a deep moral conscience.”

He said Rice was homeless and wanted a roof over his head, while Jones wanted to show his support for the cause.

Mr Brigden said both worked for homeless charities, but had no paperwork to prove it.

Adam Bonney, defending Allanson and Stafford, said Allanson was a mechanical engineering student at Liverpool University.

He said he felt so strongly about the cause that he missed his first year final exams and was expelled.

Mr Bonney said Stafford was homeless and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

He said she was a cook and a cleaner in the building, adding: “She was not there to cause destruction.”

Hall defended himself and told the court he regretted any harm caused to the building or businesses.

Re-read: Love Activists jailed

He said the Magna Carta allowed for the occupation of empty buildings and quoted Winston Churchill, who said it prevented people from being unjustly oppressed.

However, he said homeless people were being unjustly oppressed by the government.

District Judge Andrew Shaw said the historic building was “illegally occupied”.

He said: “This was a very visible and high profile protest. Those inside would have been aware of the impact of their actions.

“The cost to the police was in excess of £91,500. That money would have been used by the city to maintain law and order and promote the wellbeing of the people of the city.

“Some of those inside the building damaged it both by spraying graffiti and by actual acts of destruction, which I am told will cost thousands of pounds to repair.”

He said the “apparent object” of the occupation was to protest about the plight of the homeless.

But he said: “None of the defendants have done any work in the community to benefit the homeless.

“There is a genuine lack of sincerity in their actions, which have the appearance of a self indulgent vanity project.”

Love activists outside Liverpool Crown Court
Love activists outside Liverpool Crown Court
The judge said the group “could have left at any time” but “made a conscious decision not to”.

He said: “Their selfish actions cost this community highly both financially and also by disrupting the day to day life of the city and its people.

“While I have heard in mitigation of some noble intention, in private detailed interviews with the probation service I received the clear impression the benevolence to others was secondary to personal benefit.”

He handed each defendant 12 months’ supervision and told them to pay a £150 court charge, £80 victim surcharge and £250 towards prosecution costs.

Stafford broke down in tears while supporters in the public gallery shouted, with one man screaming: “Keep the faith, we want justice, we want peace!”

Rice shouted from the dock: “There was a paedophile who got community service the other day and I get custody!”

Do you think the Love Activists should have been jailed?

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