Ahava protesters’ appeal rejected

By Marcus Dysch, February 6, 2014

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by two anti-Israel activists who attempted to overturn a conviction for trespass.

Matthew Richardson and Gwendolen Wilkinson had chained themselves to a concrete tube inside the London branch of Israeli cosmetics store Ahava in October 2010.

They were convicted of aggravated trespass the following year but claimed their actions were justified, accusing the firm of being complicit in “Israeli war crimes”.

Ahava’s Covent Garden branch, which sold products from an Israeli West Bank settlement, closed in 2011 after being regularly targeted by activists and demonstrations.

In a judgment issued on Wednesday, five Supreme Court judges unanimously dismissed Richardson’s and Wilkinson’s appeal. “The defendants, for their own reasons, elected to trespass and to stage a sit-in which was intended to (and did) stop that lawful activity in its tracks,” Lord Hall wrote in the judgment.

Richardson and Wilkinson, both in their 20s, were originally given conditional discharges and ordered to pay £250 costs by magistrates. After their 2011 trial, Richardson had claimed he had no income and was forced to eat leftover food from supermarkets.

Last updated: 8:45pm, February 6 2014