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Submarine Attacker Cleared Of One Charge 

A former University of Warwick student has been cleared of a charge of criminal damage after attacking a submarine, but could still face a retrial over a second allegation.

Rosie James, aged 25, fully admitted hitting HMS Vengeance with a hammer after swimming through icy water to the nuclear submarine in Barrow in February last year.

But along with Rachel Wenham, aged 28, she was cleared by a jury at Manchester Crown Court of a charge of criminal damage relating to spray-painting slogans on the side of the vessel.

The jury has now been discharged after failing to reach a verdict over the hammer attack, which caused thousands of pounds of damage to hi-tech equipment.

Throughout the week-long trial the pair have admitted carrying out the attack, but have argued that their actions were not illegal because they were preventing a breach of international law posed by the Trident fleet.

It is now possible that a retrial will be called for. But today a “legal landmark” was set when 28 Greenpeace protestors were cleared of a separate charge of criminal damage following an attack on a field full of GM crops.

The defendants, including Greenpeace executive director Lord Melchett, successfully argued that they were trying to protect other crops for contamination.

The Crown Prosecution Service is expected to decide by the end of the week whether to press for a retrial in the submarine case.


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CWN / Crimes, Fires & Accidents / 20 Sep 00
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