Pro-Palestinian activists blockaded an Ahava store in London's Covent Garden on Monday, resulting in temporary closure of the store.
Two activists reportedly locked themselves to a cement-filled barrel at the entrance to the property. Police were called to the store, and the two were subsequently arrested on charges of aggravated trespassing, and taken to a central London police station.
They were convicted, and they appealed, on numerous grounds.
UK Supreme Court.
Their 13-page judgment disproves the arguments made by the Israel-haters to support their position. There are four conditions for being guilty of this category of trespass. The four categories are:
i) the defendant must be a trespasser on the land;The haters claims that part 2 doesn't apply to them because selling Ahava products is illegal. They brought a number of specious arguments.
ii) there must be a person or persons lawfully on the land (that is to say not themselves trespassing), who are either engaged in or about to engage in some lawful activity;
iii) the defendant must do an act on the land;
iv) which is intended by him to intimidate all or some of the persons on the land out of that activity, or to obstruct or disrupt it.
First, they claimed:
i) The company running the shop was guilty of aiding and abetting the transfer by the Israeli authorities of Israeli citizens to a territory (the OPT) under belligerent occupation; the transfer was said to be contrary to article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of August 1949, and aiding and abetting it to be an act ancillary to a war crime, made a criminal offence in England and Wales by sections 51 and 52 of the International Criminal Court Act 2001.The court answered:
It is very doubtful that to employ such people could amount to counselling or procuring or aiding or abetting the Government of Israel in any unlawful transfer of population. Such an employer might be taking advantage of such a transfer, but that is not the same as encouraging or assisting it. Even if that company could have been aiding and abetting such transfer, that cannot amount to an offence by the separate retailing company, whatever the corporate links between the two companies. And even if the companies had been the same, such a crime of assistance was not an integral part of the activity carried on at the shop, which was retail selling. On the contrary, it was antecedent to, and remote from, the selling. The selling was perfectly lawful. The defendants, for their own reasons, elected to trespass and to stage a sit-in which was intended to (and did) stop that lawful activity in its tracks. They thereby committed the offence under section 68.
Their other arguments were equally ridiculous and dismissed accordingly; for example that the products were mislabeled as being from "the Dead Sea, Israel," the court noted that even if they were mislabeled that does not make their sale illegal. Similarly, they claimed that since the labeling said Israel, it violated a Cosmetic Products Safety Regulation where the country of origin must be prominently displayed, but the judgment found that this was a consumer safety issue and while "the Regulations are not directed at disputed issues of territoriality" the clear labeling that it came from the Dead Sea was accurate. (Which indicates that the UK legally considers the territories to be disputed, not occupied!)
The conclusion was that
It follows that of the postulated offences all were either not demonstrated to have been committed by the occupants of the shop at the time of the defendants’ trespass or were at most collateral to the core activity of selling rather than integral to that activity. The occupants of the shop were, accordingly, engaged in the lawful activity of retail selling at the time and section 68(2) provided no defence to the defendants.
It is so funny how, in the echo chamber of the haters, they assert that so many things are illegal, and when courts actually rule otherwise they are shocked that all those "experts" in their social media were wrong.