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Peace camp joy as eviction bid is thrown out.

Peace campaigners were jubilant yesterday after a bid to have them booted from their camp at a nuclear sub base was thrown out.

After two hours of deliberation, a sheriff ruled that an eviction notice served on the Faslane protesters was "incompetent".

As Sheriff James Fraser dismissed the case, the Dumbarton courtroom - which was packed with anti-nuclear campaigners and protesters from the camp - erupted in applause and cheers.

Some wept openly, others hugged each other or stared in disbelief.

And the sheriff was given a standing ovation when he rose to leave the bench.

The decision hinged on the wording on the eviction summons by Argyll and Bute Council which identified the campaigners as an "unincorporated body of persons" and specified no individual names.

The peace campers' lawyer Peter Farrell argued that, for such a group to be sued, it would have to be carrying on a business.

The sheriff said he accepted the defenders were not trading as the Faslane Peace Camp which has been there for 16 years.

He said: "If the defenders are not a person or persons carrying on a business then they cannot be called by a descriptive name alone."

He said one of the key things that linked the campers on the site was an abhorrence of nuclear weapons, but was not related to carrying on a business.

Outside court jubilant protesters, who had been preparing for months for eviction, cracked open bottles of champagne.

Rab Fulton, a spokesman for the protesters, said he was "ecstatic" and said everyone at the camp on the Gareloch would be having a "huge party" to celebrate.

He said: "Our view was that by taking us to court the council were conceding that we had been successful in highlighting Trident nuclear weapons in Scotland.

"To have won in court just adds so much more to our sense of victory."

Protesters had been prepared to defend the camp - set up with official planning permission in 1982 - with a network of tunnels, tree-houses and towers.

Rab added: "We don't know what the council will do next.

"The defences will stay until we are sure we will be allowed to continue our protest."

Last night, a spokesman for Argyll and Bute Council said: "The council will be giving careful consideration to the outcome of the hearing."
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Author:Page, Cara
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 7, 1998
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