Wednesday, 22 July 2015

David Cameron link to blacklist arrest - trial starts this Thursday‏!

 We are publishing below a recent briefing from the Blacklist Support Group:

"For over 6 years campaigners have called for the jail sentences for those directors of multinational companies responsible for the construction industry blacklist conspiracy. To date, not a single senior manager has even been interviewed by the police or disciplined by their employer. But when the Blacklist Support Group (BSG) dared to protest about safety concerns on Crossrail and the ongoing blacklisting of union activists on the publicly funded project, Dave Smith (BSG secretary) was arrested. 
 His trial starts on Thursday 23rd July
City of London Magistrates Court 
1 Queen Victoria Street
(Next to Bank tube station)  

Smith is charged with unlawful obstruction of the highway, when along with 40 other protesters, he stopped traffic on Park Lane outside a Construction News Awards ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel in March this year. 
 Police notebooks disclosed as evidence to Guney, Clark & Ryan (GCR) solicitors indicate a link between David Cameron and the arrest. 
 Smith is a leading campaigners against the blacklisting of union members in the building industry and as co-author of the recently published book,'Blacklisted: the secret war between big business and union activists' has exposed the role of undercover police spying on trade unions 
 Smith has repeatedly claimed that both he and the BSG continue to be spied on by undercover police because of their campaigning activities. The BSG is one of the groups that has made submissions to the Pitchford public inquiry into undercover policing recently set up by Teresa May - see link:,-or-another-cover-up#.Va4NfflVikp
 The Metropolitan Police have refused to supply Smith with a copy of his police file claiming 'national security' and 'ongoing investigations' as the reasons. FOI requests in relation to police spying on the BSG receive the response that the Met can 'Neither Confirm Nor Deny' whether surveillance is ongoing. Yet, Police Notebooks disclosed as evidence for Thursday's trial state that the Met Police had intelligence about the demonstrators before the protest took place. Several police notebooks also refer to receiving instructions at a briefing delivered by superior officers about David Cameron in relation to the protest. Full details will be disclosed during witness evidence at the trial. 
 Dave Smith commented:
"It seems that its one law for big business and another law for the rest of us. Multinationals and the secret police can conspire against trade unions and destroy evidence that would be used in court cases, and nothing happens. But if we dare to protest about the human rights scandal, we get arrested. At a time when the Tories are attacking trade unions and increasing state surveillance, this trial is about defending the democratic right to protest". 
 Witnesses have claimed that although 40 protesters blocked the road, that Smith was particularly targeted by the police and arrested within seconds of the demonstration moving into Park Lane. On the night of Smith's arrest, John McDonnell MP repeatedly tweeted "Police refuse to tell me where they're holding Dave Smith. Suspicious that he was the only one arrested at blacklist demo". 
John McDonnell MP is set to be a witness in the trial. 
 Smith is being represented by the barrister JC Townsend and the solicitor Liam Dunne from GCR, both are more used to appearing in human rights cases at the High Court rather than obstruction charges in a Magistrates Court.
 Liam Dunne, from Guney, Clark & Ryan solicitors commented, 
"We intend on vigorously defending, Mr. Smith’s attempts to draw attention to the nefarious practices of the various constructions firms who have egregiously mistreated thousands of construction workers. These workers risk their lives to complete the infrastructure projects upon which society and the economy depend.  Construction Workers are the engine of economic development and the “wealth creators” of our society. They should have their rights to a safe working environment and security of employment, safeguarded. This arrest was heavy handed and an unnecessary restriction on Mr. Smith’s right to protest under Article 11 of the Human Rights Act 1998".
 The court will also be shown video footage and time stamped photographs of the arrest taken by the grassroots media collective Reel News
For press quotes:
Dave Smith 
Liam Dunne

Attached photo shows Dave Smith handcuffed inside the police van - Hi-Res versions available from Guy Smallman (NUJ)
Press photo opportunity outside the Court at 9am Thursday - there is also a large public gallery.
There is currently a High Court group litigation on the blacklisting scandal with around 700 blacklisted workers against 40 of the largest firms in the UK construction industry. The full trial is set for May 2016 and will last 10 weeks. "

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