Complete victory

Yesterday in Hove Crown Court, a squatter’s appeal against his conviction under the new squatting law was upheld. All three squatters arrested on September 3 2012 can finally celebrate the collapse of the case. We have been vindicated in our belief that this new law is unenforceable in practice.

As the squatter said afterwards “I think it just shows the new law is not working, that they had to go to this expensive trial for the judge and magistrates to decide there is no case to answer.”

When the two other squatters had their cases dropped for lack of evidence, they said: “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.”

For comment contact:
Email: housingwar [at] squat [dot] net
Twitter: @housingwar



Statement At Adjournment of Squatting 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.

For Comment contact:
Phone: 07599377058
twitter: @housingwar




Protest at Trial for New Squatting Law

9.30am Monday April 22 at Brighton Magistrates Court, Edward Street
Brighton, BN1 0LG

The trial begins Monday 22 April of the three people arrested last year in a building on London Road in Brighton. The men were originally charged with squatting in a residential premises (under s144 LASPOA 2012), obstruction of a police officer, and abstraction of electricity [1], however the abstraction charge has already been dropped due to lack of evidence.

On September 3rd 2012, police spent several minutes breaking into what they claimed was a residential building [2]. The defendants superglued themselves together in the loft, whilst two others occupied the roof. A specialist protest removal team was required to remove them. After a seven hour stand-off, the three were arrested [3].

Neil Pye from the campaign to support the three defendants said “This new law is ridiculous and has already had fatal implications. Daniel Gauntlett froze to death outside a derelict house in Kent [4]. Who then are the real criminals?”

He added “We are in housing crisis. The right say tax the poor, the left say build more houses – the elephant in the room is the empty housing stock. Let’s squat the empties!”

The defendants have pled not guilty and hope to raise challenges to the new law around what constitutes ‘living’ and what defines ‘residential’ premises [5]. A trial set for two and a half days begins at 10am on Monday and a protest in support of the defendants is planned for 9.30am.

Pictures and Comment
E-mail: housingwar [at] squat [dot] net
Phone: 07599377058

Notes for editors

[1] Three in court in squat arrests
[2] Youtube video of police spending 10 minutes breaking down door
[3] Police arrest Brighton squatters
[4] Homeless man prevented from squatting dies
[5] Background information


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