Ayliffe And Others v United Kingdom: ECHR 6 May 2008

The applicants are employees of or volunteers for Greenpeace. They boarded a cargo ship, preventing it continuing its voyage to harbour. They did so because they believed the cargo contained unlicensed animal feed and thus the importation was in breach of domestic criminal law. They were arrested the following day and tried for an offence of public nuisance. They had also been charged with an offence contrary to section 58 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 (conduct in United Kingdom waters endangering ships, structures or individuals), which was dismissed at the committal stage of the case. In their defence to the public nuisance charge, the applicants denied that their action amounted to a public nuisance and that the action was reasonable and necessary to prevent the commission of a criminal offence. The trial judge instructed the jury that they could conclude that the applicants’ actions were or may have been a reasonable and proportionate response, in which case the actions would have been authorised by law as actions to prevent the commission of crime and the jury could acquit. They were unanimously acquitted of the public nuisance charge by the jury. After their acquittal, the applicants applied for their costs to be paid out of central funds pursuant to section 16(2)(h) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. Their total costs were approximately GBP 250,000. The order was refused.
33294/06, [2008] ECHR 377
European Convention on Human Rights, Merchant Shipping Act 1995 58
At Admin CourtAyliffe and others v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 21-Apr-2005
The case concerned actions taken at military bases by way of protest against the Iraq war. Each raised questions arising from the prosecution of the appellants for offences of aggravated trespass. The defendants asserted, among other things, that . .

Cited by:
See AlsoAyliffe And Others v United Kingdom ECHR 10-Feb-2009
The applicants were all either employees of or volunteers for Greenpeace. They were charged with a number of offences relating to the boarding of a cargo ship. They were acquitted but the trial judge refused to award the applicants their costs in . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 07 February 2021; Ref: scu.267613