Statement At Adjournment of the Trial

Today the squatting trial in Brighton was adjourned until the 24th May as it ran out of time due to extreme faffing.

Two squatters had already had the case against them thrown out of court when the magistrates realised the prosecution hadn’t actually presented any evidence that they lived in the building. And the case against the third squatter looks pretty flimsy.

Toby, one of the freed defendants, said:

“It’s proved to be ridiculous – it’s not even that we were found ‘not guilty’, but that there was absolutely no case to answer. The advice to squatters from this is don’t plead guilty. Presence in a building is not enough, they have to prove with documentary evidence that you actually live there.”

The two acquitted defendants released the following statement:

So far this case shows how ridiculous the new anti-squatting law is. It was badly researched and rushed through parliament based on a hysterical and inaccurate media stereotype. Even the government’s own consultation found that only a few rich landlords saw a need for this law.

Squatting gives people, who don’t have the huge amount of money required to buy their own house, a way of taking control of their living situations without having to go cap in hand to charities, the government or their employer.

In this case we have seen how a security company can use the police and public money as their own private bailiffs. This new law therefore enables the police to arrest and harass people who were simply IN an empty building.

Its better to squat the lot than let homes rot!

To keep up to date with the trial follow @housingwar on twitter.


The three defendants are booked in for a two and a half day trial at Brighton Magistrates Court (map) which starts tomorrow at 10am Monday April 22 2013.

People will be outside court from 9.30am.

The charges originally were squatting (under s144), obstruction (of the police in their lawful duty) and abstraction (ie stealing electricity). The abstraction charge has already been dropped.

Squatban resisters – court update

Yesterday (November 5th) was the committal hearing for the three squatters arrested in the high profile raid in Brighton earlier this year.

Originally, the three arrestees were charged with Squatting in a Residential Building, Obstructing Police and Abstracting Electricity. Abstraction is an either way offense, so the defendants had opted for a crown court trial, with a full jury.

However, yesterday the CPS dropped the Abstraction of Electricity charge, meaning the matter is summary only, and will be heard in the Magistrate’s court. The date for the trial has been set for 22-24th April 2013. Solidarity and support would be much appreciated.


On this day in 2012, just two days after the new law came in, three people were arrested in a place where they were not living.

The police said:

Three men have been arrested under the new squatting legislation.

Police were called to a residential property in London Road, Brighton today, (3 September) and after several hours two 22-year-olds and a 29-year-old were taken into custody.

Two other men, who were on the roof of the building, safely made their way down from the property and were not arrested.

The property is now being boarded up by the landlord’s agent.

Actually the two other people escaped! To fight another day….

Maybe to make this website… Or maybe not. It is interesting that the police assumed they were male, in any case.


Reports from the day:


S144 of LASPO

Offence of squatting in a residential building

(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)the person is in a residential building as a trespasser having entered it as a trespasser,
(b)the person knows or ought to know that he or she is a trespasser, and
(c)the person is living in the building or intends to live there for any period.

(2)The offence is not committed by a person holding over after the end of a lease or licence (even if the person leaves and re-enters the building).

(3)For the purposes of this section—
(a)“building” includes any structure or part of a structure (including a temporary or moveable structure), and
(b)a building is “residential” if it is designed or adapted, before the time of entry, for use as a place to live.

(4)For the purposes of this section the fact that a person derives title from a trespasser, or has the permission of a trespasser, does not prevent the person from being a trespasser.

(5)A person convicted of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (or both).

(6)In relation to an offence committed before the commencement of section 281(5) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the reference in subsection (5) to 51 weeks is to be read as a reference to 6 months.

(7)For the purposes of subsection (1)(a) it is irrelevant whether the person entered the building as a trespasser before or after the commencement of this section.

(8)In section 17 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (entry for purpose of arrest etc)—
(a)in subsection (1)(c), after sub-paragraph (v) insert—
“(vi)section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (squatting in a residential building);”;
(b)in subsection (3), for “or (iv)” substitute “, (iv) or (vi)”.

(9)In Schedule 10 to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (consequential amendments), omit paragraph 53(b).