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Sunday, October 23, 2016
Pensioner jailed for peace protest
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¬†"I will not sit at home knitting!" A retired head teacher was jailed on Wednesday for her part in the blockade of a nuclear naval base. Joy Mitchell, 67, from Berwick, who leads the town's Peace Church, was sentenced to seven days in Cornton Vale prison after failing to pay a fine for her part in the Trident Ploughshare blockade of Faslane on 14 February this year. Helensburgh District Court also charged Ms Mitchell, together with Joan Meredith, aged 71, a retired teacher of the deaf from Alnwick, with offences committed later. The pair faced two charges relating to August 1999 - one of cutting the perimeter fence at Coulport (malicious mischief) and the second for blockading the main gate of the same base (breach of the peace). In her defence, Ms Meredith asked the court how it was possible to teach our children to uphold the law when their own country so flagrantly breached it. She said: "I will not sit at home knitting, pretending that it's all right when it's all wrong!" Justice of the Peace Tony Stirling found the women guilty on both charges, fining them a "nominal" £50 for the fence cutting and admonishing them for the blockade. Both women said they would not pay. At the end of her case Ms Meredith was immediately arrested by the police and taken to prison for the unpaid fine from a previous conviction. Earlier, in the same court, David Mackenzie (56), a former education officer with Stirling Council, was found guilty and fined £50 on a breach of the peace charge for blockading the Coulport base in November last year. The campaigners plan to go to Faslane on 12 February next year when they aim to close the base for a day. Members of the Scottish Parliament, 27 ministers from Scottish churches and people from all over the UK are already signed up to be there.
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