Greenham granny graffiti guilty
Jury: No-Nuke Spraypaint OK
Middlesex Crown Court, UK -18 December: Antinuclear spraypainter Helen John, a 62-year-old grandmother and former Greenham Common protester with 23 priors was found guilty as charged. Then Judge Henry Blacksell QC was sent a note from the sympathetic jury. Blacksell read the note aloud.
"We are unanimously agreed that the defendant had reasonable cause for her actions."
He told the jurors: You can take it I can understand that ... and will be true to it.
The judge deferred sentence for six months and gave Ms John a conditional discharge. Ms John had sprayed 18-inch high messages at St Stephen's Gate, the public entrance to the Palace of Westminster, early one morning in September:
No Star Wars
Ban Depleted Uranium Weapons
Judge Blacksell read these to the court.
Tony Benn, Labour MP for Chesterfield and veteran anti-nuclear campaigner, had given evidence to support Ms John during the three-day trial. Mr Benn told the jury he had been misled or kept in the dark on a number of nuclear issues while an elected minister. He agreed that action such as hers was sometimes necessary to alert parliament and the public.