Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cancer Scientist in England Pleads Guilty To Sabotaging Companies Related To Animal Testing

A very interesting story. Seems he as headed for animal testing and refused to do so. He is the first person to be convicted under the Serious and Organized Crime Act, developed by the British Government last July. Really, a copy cat legislative effort to mirror The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act in the US (which strengthened the Animal Enterprise Protection Act) -


'Brilliant' cancer scientist had double life as animal rights sab,,2-2367291.html

By Jenny Booth and agencies

A cancer research specialist described as "brilliant" was today jailed for three years after he pleaded guilty to leading a double life as an animal rights saboteur.

Joseph Harris, 26, a doctor of molecular biology who has been working on a treatment for pancreatic cancer at Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, waged a campaign of vandalism against three companies which carried out work for Huntingdon Life Sciences, an animal testing firm.

His girlfriend had threatened to dump him because his research was leading him to the point where he was going to have to test his findings on animals, his defence lawyer claimed.

Jailing Harris today, Judge Ian Alexander said: "I am sorry that your conviction and the sentence I impose will seriously damage what was a very promising career.

"It may well be that your future inability to continue your research into gastro-intestinal cancer will be a great loss to those who suffer that disease. The seriousness and objective of your offences must be marked both as a punishment and deterrent to others."

The judge added: "It causes me great discomfort in seeing you before the court having thrown so much away."

Harris, a published author in the field of gastro-intestinal cancer, is the first person to be convicted under the Serious and Organised Crime Act, which was brought in by the Government last July to tackle harassment and threats from animal rights activists. He was being sentenced today after pleading guilty to three charges.

Northampton Crown Court heard that he broke into the premises of three companies which supplied building materials, refrigeration servicing and testing equipment, and glued locks, slashed tyres and put hoses through letter boxes. He also daubed the Animal Liberation Front initials on walls, vans and windows.

The offences took place at companies in Northampton, Nottingham and Bicester in December and January last year. Harris carried out his first attack, on York Refrigeration, a Nottingham company which maintained fridge equipment for HLS, on December 16 - the day he was awarded his PhD.

Rebecca Trowler, defending, told the court: "In that field, of course, there are experiments on animals. Inevitably over time as his career progressed he was coming under pressure to participate in these experiments."

The Nottingham University graduate had recently split up with his girlfriend, who could not accept his work and its tests on animals.

Miss Trowler added: "The girlfriend who he was involved with had ended the relationship because of his continued work in the field of medical research, because she disapproved of this activity.

"This put him in an increasing moral dilemma. Essentially he came to a crisis point and he took a very, very stupid decision.

"He has a genuine concern for the world - in particular his belief that the experimenation on animals which causes suffering is never justified - notwithstanding the progress it can produce for the human race."

Harris, who was said not to belong to any specific animal rights group, caused more than £25,000 worth of damage at the three companies, none of which played an active part in animal testing. He apparently found details of his victims on the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) website.

All three companies have since ceased trading with HLS, Northampton Crown Court heard today.

He was arrested at the scene of his third attack on January 15, at a builders merchants in Northampton, but he was caught for the earlier two through DNA tests and chemical analysis of spray paint cans found on him.

He caused more than £15,000 worth of damage at York Refridgeration, where he broke into the yard and daubed graffiti on the company’s vans and walls, including the initials "ALF" and the words "Now you will pay for your crimes".

An intercom system and air conditioning units had been attacked and an out-building holding gas canisters was broken into and sabotaged.

A month later Harris caused more than £11,000 damage to the Bicester-based Atlas Material Testing Solutions, daubing the slogan "this company kills babies", gluing locks shut, damaging the intercom system damaged and putting a hose pipe through the letterbox causing the office to flood.

Later on the same day he attacked Bullimore’s Plant and Machinery in Northampton, which rented machinery to a builder constructing an extension for HLS, where he had again glued locks and vandalised vehicles, causing £2,000 of damage.

When he was arrested, the court heard, Harris was carrying bolt cutters, a hammer, a torch, gloves and cans of spray paint. Analysis of the paint showed it was the same as that used in the Bicester attack. Analysis of DNA found on a rubber glove at the Nottingham scene was linked to Harris.

No comments:

Search for More Content

Custom Search
Bookmark and Share

Past Articles