Campaigners plan demo outside Brighton court as squatters go on trial

Posted On 19 Apr 2013 at 9:00 am

Protesters are planning to demonstrate outside a Brighton court when three men go on trial next week charged with squatting in residential premises.

They were the first people to be arrested under the new law which was brought in after a campaign by Hove Conservative MP Mike Weatherley.

Alistair Cannell, also known as Ali Cannell, Dirk Duputell, and Tobias Sedgwick, all of no fixed address, were arrested in London Road, Brighton, last September.

They were held after a seven-hour stand-off with Sussex Police and also face a charge of obstructing a police officer.

A charge of abstracting electricity has been dropped.

The demo is being organised for 9.30am on Monday (22 April) outside Brighton Magistrates’ Court in Edward Street, Brighton.

The trial is due to start at 10am and is scheduled to last two and a half days.

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. Who then are the real criminals?

“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.”

He said that people should be able to squat in empty homes.

He added that the defendants hoped to raise challenges to the new law around what constitutes “living” and what defines “residential” premises.

All three deny both charges.

 

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