Defendants' Longest Trial Statement

Today our case has become the longest trial of any kind in British history. It's a milestone for us and critics of the food industry, but a millstone for the $30 billion dollar a year McDonald's Corporation. Their official forecast was that it would last '3-4 weeks', but the tables have been turned and the fast food giant has found itself on trial.

The reason it has been taking so long is that the UK's oppressive libel laws have allowed McDonald's to sue over a wide range of common sense views on matters of great public importance which naturally we've had an obligation to defend...such as the links between diet and ill-health, the fact that packaging is wasteful and ends up as litter, and that McJobs are low-paid with few rights for the workers.

Rather than succeeding in silencing their critics, McDonald's efforts have backfired, provoking growing public protest all over the world - 2 million leaflets have been handed out in the UK alone since the writs were served on us, and thousands of people have pledged to continue to distribute leaflets whatever the verdict in the case. Now there's even an Internet site (called 'McSpotlight') devoted to making available world-wide at the push of a button everything McDonald's dont want people to know but have failed to stop people finding out about.

Despite being denied Legal Aid and our right to a jury trial, we've defended ourselves and believe that the information that's been uncovered and admissions we've obtained from McDonald's executives and consultants in the witness box have vindicated our stand. We believe the public have the right to scrutinise and challenge the business practices of multinationals, and for that reason such organisations should no longer be allowed to use the libel laws as a form of censorship.

We are exhausted by this long marathon, but determined to continue to campaign for a world without exploitation and oppression of people, animals and the environment.