A Christian peace activist was found guilty of criminal damage at Westminster Central Magistrates Court yesterday, following a protest at the UK Defence Conference in central London last month.
The conference was being held as part of the DESi arms fair.
Chris Cole (46) from Oxford had sprayed ‘Build Peace Not War Machines’ and poured fake blood across the entrance of the conference centre.
He was charged with ‘criminal damage’ and excluded from the M25 area during the DSEI arms fair, as part of his bail conditions.
Cole, who defended himself in court, argued that the conference had brought a number of senior officials from the arms industry, from the military and from the government to encourage and devise a military response to global security threats.
He said in court “Protected by amiable guards and amenable laws, this event and dozens like them are causing a great deal of harm. Pushing a military response to climate change, the movement of peoples, and energy scarcity – as this event did - whilst at the same time trying to profit financially from researching, producing and selling increasingly lethal weaponry is morally repugnant and disastrous”.
Cole was ordered to pay £1,545.00 in compensation and £350 in court costs.
He has been a speaker at the Greenbelt arts and music festival, which takes place over the August bank holiday weekend. He is a member of the Network of Christian Peace Organisations and has previously been jailed for his demonstrations.
In 2007 Cole was jailed for refusing to pay a fine of £661 arising from an anti-Iraq war action at the Ministry of Defence on Holy Innocents Day, 28th December 2004.