Saturday, June 20, 2009

Police raid film makers home

COPS, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE

AS SUSSEX POLICE RAID BRIGHTON FILM MAKER

At approximately 8.30am on Tuesday 2nd June, Sussex cops arrived at
the home of Paul Light, now revealed as one of the SchMOVIES
collective. (For anyone thinking that SchNEWS was still stuck in the
Dark Ages with just a scrappy sheet of A4, we've moved right
into the twentieth century and have our own slightly estranged
film-making department.) Paul's arrest has wide ranging
implications for anyone who reports on controversial issues.?

When the cops came round Paul was getting his ten-year old son ready
for school. He was immediately arrested on suspicion of being involved
in the 'decommissioning' of the EDO ITT weapons factory in
January. The actual charge was 'conspiracy to
commit criminal damage'.

This vague charge was enough for the police to launch into a
full-blown fishing expedition.'The only evidence they [Sussex
police] have is that someone phoned me, asking if I wanted to film the
police response,'

Paul told SchNEWS, 'I said I couldn't because I had my son and his friend sleeping over that night. That was the end of it as far as I was concerned. As a film
maker I frequently get phone calls about possible incidents to film
- this was one shoot I couldn't and didn't make.'

Paul was held and questioned for eight hours and his home was raided.
The police took Paul's son to school in a police car, where he
burst into tears due to the stress. His father was released on bail
and is awaiting the outcome of the arrest.

Police took every item that could possibly be used for data storage
as evidence, including cameras, computers, external hard drives,
software, mobile phones, personal accounts, diaries and even his music
collection.'Put bluntly they have concocted this arrest to see
what material I have,' said Paul, who regularly films at
protests and demonstrations.

Police have recently attempted to use a film credited to SchMOVIES as
evidence in court. The film 'Batons and Bombs' documents events at last year's Carnival Against the Arms Trade and was downloaded from the web by cops. They were
refused its use as evidence in court on the grounds that the film was
edited and they did not possess the original footage. The Crown
Prosecution Service are currently appealing that decision via judicial
review. The discovery of the original footage would greatly strengthen
their hand.

'The raid has effectively shut me down and I am no longer able
to make films,' said Paul. 'Film work is my livelihood, so
effectively they have put me on the dole.' Paul makes films
about many different campaigns and issues, and the arrest and raid has
been a major setback in his ability to earn a living.'They have
left me with nothing,' he said, 'I have three commissions
in production at the moment and I have had to phone people up and tell
them the news - that their films will have to be postponed
indefinitely!'

* See www.schnews.org.uk/schmovies

* SchMOVIES is not new to controversy. The release of the 2008 film 'On The Verge'
(www.schnews.org.uk/schmovies/index-on-the-verge.htm), a documentary about the Smash EDO campaign was met with bans across the UK by various police forces, claiming the film would need certification to be publicly viewed.

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