The McLibel 2, Helen Steel (33) and Dave Morris (44), today launched
proceedings against the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, claiming damages
for misfeasance in public office, breach of confidence and breach of their
right to privacy.
The claim results from actions of police officers, including Special Branch officers, which came to light as a result of the McLibel trial (the longest trial in English history). It emerged during the McLibel trial that police officers had passed private and in some cases false information about the McLibel 2 (and other protestors), including their home addresses, to McDonald's and to private investigators hired by McDonald's to infiltrate London Greenpeace.
The McLibel 2 said today "During the McLibel trial Sid Nicholson, McDonald's Head of Security and a former Met Chief Superintendent, stated from the witness box that McDonald's security department were 'all ex-policemen' and if he ever wanted to know information about protestors he would go to his contacts in the police, (day 249 of the trial, p38*). This collusion between the police and a multinational corporation against members of the public exposes the political role of the police in ensuring the wheels of big business keep turning. It's clear that their claim to be impartial defenders of the public is a hollow one."
*NB The full transcripts of the McLibel trial are available on the McSpotlight website, at http://www.mcspotlight.org/case/index.html .
McLIBEL BACKGROUNDMcDonald's issued writs against the McLibel 2 in September 1990 alleging that they had been libelled in the London Greenpeace factsheet 'What's Wrong with McDonald's? - Everything they don't want you to know'. The libel trial began on 28th June 1994. On June 19th 1997, after a trial lasting 314 days, Mr Justice Bell ruled that McDonald's 'exploit children', deceptively promote their food as 'nutritious', risk the health of their long-term regular customers, are 'culpably responsible for animal cruelty' and pay 'low wages' - but found for the company on some other points.
The full McLibel Appeal has now been scheduled to begin on January 12th 1999 (currently estimated to last 3 months), when Helen Steel (33) and Dave Morris (44) will be in court once again to challenge the use of libel laws as a form of censorship, and to overturn the parts of the verdict which went against them. The McLibel 2 also intend to take the British Govt. to the European Court of Human Rights to overturn the UK's unfair and oppressive libel laws. They will argue that multinational corporations should no longer be able to sue for libel.