'Stansted 15' protesters appeal against convictions

Stansted 15 Image copyright Kristian Buus/Getty Images
Image caption The "Stansted 15" are appealing against their convictions

Fifteen protesters who broke through a perimeter fence to stop a plane deporting people to Africa are appealing against their convictions.

The so-called "Stansted 15" were convicted under counter-terrorism legislation on 10 December 2018.

Lawyers acting for the group have asked for the case to be reviewed at the Court of Appeal in London.

Raj Chada, who represents the activists, said their conviction was "a travesty of justice".

If their appeal is rejected, the group - whose members are aged between 27 and 44 - could face life imprisonment when they are sentenced next month.

The 15 were found guilty of endangering safety at an aerodrome under the 1990 Aviation and Maritime Security Act, which was brought in after the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

They cut through a perimeter fence at Stansted Airport to stop a flight deporting 60 people to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone on 28 March 2017.

Image copyright Kristian Buus/Getty Images
Image caption Amnesty International placards were held up outside Chelmsford Crown Court during the trial

Mr Chada, a partner at law firm Hodge Jones & Allen, said: "It is inexplicable how these protesters were charged [under] this legislation, and even more so that they were found guilty.

"It is our strongly-held belief that charging them with this offence was an abuse of power by the Attorney General and the CPS.

"It is only right and fitting that this wrongful conviction is overturned."

Following the trial, the protestors said that they were "guilty of nothing more than intervening to prevent harm".

Helen Brewer, 28, who is one of the activists convicted, said justice had "not been done".

The others found guilty are:

  • Lyndsay Burtonshaw, 28;
  • Nathan Clack, 30;
  • Laura Clayson, 28;
  • Melanie Evans, 35;
  • Joseph McGahan, 35;
  • Benjamin Smoke, 27;
  • Jyotsna Ram, 33;
  • Nicholas Sigsworth, 29;
  • Melanie Strickland, 35;
  • Alistair Tamlit, 30;
  • Edward Thacker, 29;
  • Emma Hughes, 38;
  • May McKeith, 33;
  • Ruth Potts, 44

Twelve of the defendants' given addresses are in north London; Burtonshaw's is in Brighton; Potts's is in Bristol; and McGahan's is in Reading.

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