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CPS Statement on sentencing of Huntingdon Life Sciences blackmail plotters

25/10/2010

Following the sentencing, Alastair Nisbett, senior lawyer of CPS Wessex Complex Casework Unit said:

"These defendants were not legitimate animal welfare protestors but people who were prepared to carry out criminal acts, which tormented and deeply distressed their victims, sometimes over a number of years.

"They threatened and intimidated those who were going about their lawful business because they personally objected to the victims supplying goods and services to Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS).

"Those who have not been subject to such a campaign cannot understand how harrowing it is to be constantly on your guard against threatening letters and emails, vandalism to your home and car and even hoax bomb threats. Or what its like to have your neighbours and employers told, maliciously and repeatedly, that you are a paedophile.

"In common with the seven other animal rights extremists, who were sentenced to a total of 50 years in prison in January 2009, they were members of the discredited organisation SHAC Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty - whose sole aim was to shut down HLS by any means necessary, regardless of the law.

"HLS carries out pharmaceutical product testing which is not only licensed and lawful, but is required by UK and European legislation."

"Our society supports the right to free speech and to campaign peacefully, but where that behaviour is criminal, regardless of the perceived cause, a prosecution will almost certainly follow and, if convicted, a significant prison sentence.