Stop G4S pair not guilty after headquarters stunt

Two men who occupied the roof of security privateer G4S’s headquarters for over eight hours were found not guilty of aggravated trespass today.

Campaigners Chris Osmond and Shiar Youssef embarrassed the company by hanging two Stop G4S protest banners from their offices on July 2 last year.

Police finally hauled the determined pair down and charged them under the Public Order Act.

But both were found not guilty today following a three-day trial at Horsham Magistrates Court.

Mr Osmond told the Star the pair had been acquitted because they hadn’t caused any disruption to business by climbing on the roof.

The protesters had planned to argue that the company were not carrying out lawful business on the day of their protest.

A jury found earlier this year that three G4S guards “unlawfully killed” Jimmy Mubenga while deporting him from Britain in October 2010.

The company also has contracts with the Israeli prison service, who campaigners believe are holding Palestinians in breach of international rights laws.

Mr Osmond said the growing campaign against G4S has helped to discredit the company since staging their rooftop protest.

“G4S was excluded from tendering for a contract by a university in Norway in May this year on the basis that their business in Palestine, with the Israeli prison service, made them an unsuitable candidate,” he explained.

“So the grass-roots campaign against G4S is biting and we’re going to carry on with it.”

Mr Osmond and Mr Youssef wanted to highlight that work connected to those contracts is carried out in G4S’s Crawley HQ but that was ruled out.

Mr Youssef said: “I feel happy after being acquitted but a little disappointed that yet again a court was not willing to look into the lawfulness of the activities of an international corporation that has been surrounded by controversy.

“That’s exactly why people like us feel we have to take action.

“I hope this will inspire other people to campaign and stop G4S taking over more public services.”

(Source / 21.08.2013)

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