Third Battle of Newbury

P.O. BOX 5520, Newbury, Berks. RG14 7YW.

Tel: 01635 45544 Fax: 01635 45545 24 hr info: 01635 550552

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Immediate Release 15th August 1996


Newbury Hunger-striker successfully challenges police bail conditions in High Court

Newbury bypass hunger-striker, Chris Dench, today successfully challenged Police bail conditions which banned him from going within one kilometre of the bypass route, sometimes refered to by protestors, as the 'Newbury Sausage'. The Judge accepted Chris's offer to keep off land owned by the Department of Transport (i.e. the bypass route) and to refrain from interfering with the construction of the bypass.

Chris Dench has been on hunger strike since he was remanded on August 1st. He is in good health despite losing over two stones in weight. A court date for his trial on aggravated trespass charges is set for Monday 19th August.

The relaxation of bail conditions marks a triumph for campaigners who claim the use of bail conditions has in effect suppressed legitimate peaceful protest against the bypass. Such far reaching conditions were made possible by the contentious 1994 Criminal Justice Act which gave considerable increased police powers when setting bail conditions. To date over 300 people have been arrested for aggravated trespass and had to agree to strict bail conditions. Often this has also required daily signings at police stations in their town of residence, often outside of Newbury.

Chris Dench's Solicitor, Lydia Dagostino of Bindmans and Partners, said

"Although this decision is not binding on the lower courts, it's obviously a victory for Chris Dench and may be useful as an indicator for magistrates in the future" ENDS

Editors Notes

Chris Dench is expected to be released from H.M.P.Bullingdon, just outside Didcot Oxfordshire, after 4.30 p.m. today .

Further Information: Third Battle of Newbury Office 01635 45544