From guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 30 June 2010, by Bibi van der Zee and Rob Evans:
Five activists who caused £180,000 damage ...were acquitted after they argued they were seeking to prevent Israeli war crimes. ... a jury found them not guilty of conspiring to cause criminal damage ...The five admitted they had broken in and sabotaged [a] factory, but argued they were legally justified in doing so.
They believed that EDO MBM, the firm that owns the factory, was breaking export regulations by manufacturing and selling to the Israelis military equipment which would be used in the occupied territories. They wanted to slow down the manufacture of these components, and impede what they believed were war crimes being committed by Israel against the Palestinians.
...They are the latest group of peace and climate-change activists to successfully use the "lawful excuse" defence – committing an offence to prevent a more serious crime – as a tactic in their campaigns. ...
In his summing up, Judge George Bathurst-Norman suggested to the jury that "you may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that time".
The judge highlighted the testimony by Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, that "all democratic paths had been exhausted" before the activists embarked on their action.
Hove crown court heard the activists had broken into the factory in the night. They had video-taped interviews beforehand outlining their intention to cause damage and, in the words of prosecutor Stephen Shay, "smash-up" the factory.
These statements were posted on the Indymedia website shortly after they were arrested...