In defence of the Stansted 15
18 October, 2018 — By John Gulliver
RAJ Chada, former council leader and a Camden solicitor, is appearing as a defence lawyer in what may be seen as one of the most politically charged trials in recent years.
Fifteen activists – many of them London professionals, including two with PhD doctorates – are charged with terrorism offences for blocking the take-off for several hours of a plane at Stansted airport in Essex carrying 70 immigrants to Ghana and Nigeria. They face life sentences if found guilty.
The protesters say they were opposing a secretive and unfair practice.
The trial opened last week and is expected to last several weeks.
The defendants locked themselves together with metal poles on the runway in March 2017.
The initial charge against them was changed to one of endangering safety at an aerodrome, an offence created following the 1988 Lockerbie bombing as part of legislation aimed at combating terrorism. It is such a serious offence it has to be “signed off” by the Attorney General.
Mr Chada, a senior solicitor at the Euston firm Hodge Jones and Allen, will also present his arguments as an advocate during the trial. Leading for the defence is Dexter Dias QC.