B52 Two: Not Guilty
On 22th May 2007, the trial of two Oxford peace activists Philip Pritchard and Toby Olditch (known as the 'B52 Two') concluded with the jury returning a unanimous verdict of not-guilty in less than three hours  | . The two were charged with 'conspiring to cause criminal damage' at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire on 18 March 2003 when they tried to safely disable US B52 bombers to prevent them from bombing Iraq. The court heard the two men acted to prevent damage to life and property in Iraq, and war crimes by the aggressors. During the trial the prosecution accepted that even delaying the bombers would have prevented civilian casualties, as it would have allowed those fleeing cities more time to escape.
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In his hour and a half summing up, Justice Crowther explained the legal tests that must be met for the prosecution to succeed, he reiterated the facts and summarised the evidence. A document 'steps to verdict' had been provided to assist the jury. Toby Olditch said "We're overjoyed, and thankful for the good sense of the jurors, for the wonderful support we've received, and for the commitment and expertise of our legal representatives. But hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people have still suffered as a result of the Government's actions. It shouldn't have come to the point that people had to take direct action to try to check the abuse of executive power." Phil Pritchard; "I am delighted that the jury have returned a unanimous not-guilty verdict. Our action in trying to prevent illegal attacks on the people of Iraq in 2003 is vindicated. I hope war of this kind never happens again."