Activist given lowest permissible sentence after being convicted of criminal damage

Mar 29, 2022

  • Palestine Actionist Torch was handed given the lowest permissible sentence at Brighton Magistrates Court after causing £1000 of damage during an action against a JLL managed property in Brighton. 
  • Palestine Action have been engaged in a campaign of direct action against JLL, undermining their operations in protest against their continued facilitation of Elbit Systems’ business-of-bloodshed.
  • Palestine Action will continue holding those complicit in Elbit’s blood money and arms trade to account through direct action.

Today at Brighton Magistrates Court, Palestine Actionist Torch was handed the lowest permissible sentence after being convicted of criminal damage worth over £1000. They were originally arrested and charged after performing an action at a JLL managed property. JLL, through their subsidiary LaSalle Investment Management, hosts the headquarters of Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems in 77 Kingsway, London. JLL have ignored repeated calls to evict Elbit, choosing instead to continue collecting their blood-money and ignoring the war crimes facilitated in their properties. 

For this reason, Palestine Action have engaged in direct action against JLL and LaSalle Investment Management, targeting their offices and sites across the country. This action follows a significant day of action in October 2021, in which JLL were simultaneously targeted in three cities – London, Manchester, and York.

Whilst this is the first such verdict handed to a Palestine Actionist; the sentence shows that it only applies in the loosest sense of the term. If it were truly such a serious charge, the punishment would be serious also. As the Judge said themselves during the trial, ‘my decision is far from straightforward. This trial involved a difficult balancing exercise between how far your right to protest about a cause that you passionately believe in interplays with the rights and freedoms of others and the need to keep law and order in a democratic society.’

Torch has given us this statement on their verdict: ‘While the courts may have found me “Guilty” today, that word means little coming from the British legal system, one where War Criminals are untouched. It is not the opinions of a colonial empire’s agents that matter to me. History will vindicate Palestine Action, and all those who oppose imperialism. Take the words of Black Feminist Angela Davis to heart; do not accept what you cannot change, but rather change that which you cannot accept. Fight oppression in all its forms, join Palestine Action in opposing ethnic cleansing.’