Christian prepares for prison over matter of conscience

By staff writers
January 25, 2012

A Scottish Christian has told a court that she is prepared to go to prison rather than accept that she has done anything wrong in taking direct action against nuclear weapons.

Barbara Dowling today told Dumbarton District Court yesterday (25 January) that she would not pay a fine or comply with a Supervised Attendance Order. She explained that she does not accept that she is guilty of any crime.

Dowling was called to a means court after failing to pay a £500 fine imposed in October 2010 for blockading the Faslane Trident Submarine Base. She had blockaded the gates of Faslane in April that year along with five other members of Trident Ploughshares. The group have pledged to peacefully disarm the UK nuclear weapons system.

They say they were exercising their civic responsibility under international law, to do what they could to stop the work of preparing and maintaining weapons of mass destruction.

Dowling said that at the original trial, the Justice appeared to have made up her mind before all the evidence was put before the court.

“I don't accept the verdict,” she explained yesterday, “The trial was unfair and the Justice did not listen to our argument that we had a right to disrupt the illegal work at Faslane under international humanitarian law”.

Yesterday, the Justice accepted that Dowling could not pay £500 and imposed 90 hours of Supervised Attendance. But Dowling said that she would not comply with it and it would be a waste of Social Work Department resources to try.

She was told that if she does not co-operate she will be brought back to court. Refusal to comply with a Supervised Order could lead to a jail sentence.


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