Saturday, June 12, 2010

Judge questions Mayor's power

THE CASE brought by London Mayor Boris Johnson in the High Court to remove the peace camp from Parliament Square where it has been since 1st May – along with Brian Haw, the peace activist who has sustained a peace vigil opposite the House of Commons for nine years.
But the judge, Mr Justice Maddison, questioned Johnson’s power to take legal action to evict the peace campers. He said that his provisional view was that Boris Johnson was “likely ultimately to succeed”. But he added there was room for “lively and legitimate argument as to whether or not he does have title to bring these proceedings”.
Whatever happens, the case is going to take a lot longer than Johnson had hoped.
Anti-war protesters, climate change activists and anarchists have been living in the camp, dubbed Democracy Village, since 1st May.
Veteran anti-war campaigner Brian Haw, who has camped at the site since 2001, has previously won legal battles to be allowed to continue his demonstration in the Square.
Johnson said he has a right to bring trespass action against the protesters as the Greater London Authority owns the green space.
He claims the protesters do not have the right to monopolise the green space. But the campers are not preventing anyone else from access to what is, in effect, a large traffic island. They argue that the only person who can take such an action is the Queen.
Maddison said the issue of eviction of “Democracy Village” needed to be “decided at the very earliest opportunity”.
The case was adjourned and is now expected to return to the court on Friday.

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