Monday, October 02, 2006
End of the first day...
Jury selection took all morning, complicated by the delicacy of not wanting to exclude opinions but at the same time wishing to avoid embarrassment to jury members who may then have to explain to family members in the military why they decided to acquit.
We started the afternoon with the prosecution introducing their case. Mr. Houlder QC. presented the agreed facts and went on to adduce evidence from witnesses who were working on the base at the time the action took place. Among the exhibits were the now infamous "deely boppers" that Mr Houlder kindly modelled for the court once the judge and jury had retired. He could almost be a direct activist.
Maybe we should explain the deely boppers; slightly silly flashing head gear which the pair took with them in an attempt to avoid getting shot. The idea being that nobody could feel threatened by someone topped with flashing peace poppies.
So that was the comedy moment, after that we went to the two MOD policemen who arrested Phil and Toby, then came the RAF commanding officer at Fairford. Among other things he was asked to comment on the contents of "The Fairford Flyer" a particularly gung-ho piece of in-house journalism, glorifying the USAF's ability to fly big planes around the globe and bomb people.
He conceeded that as the senior British officer he had absolutely no control over the operations on the base; in effect it's a USAF fortress in the middle of Gloucestershire over which there's little or no oversight.
There were loads of interesting bits and pieces going on: the arcane speechifying that takes on its own rhythm and starts to make sense after a while; the wigs and gowns; the mannered delivery and politeness that barely masks the knife.
So, we'll add more details as we go along, but that's all for today folks!
Tomorrow the defence will probably start presenting their case, we'll let you know what happens.