Court orders independence campers to leave Scottish Parliament

A SENIOR judge has given the go ahead for independence campers to be evicted from the grounds of the Scottish Parliament.

Picture: Greg Macvean

Lord Turnbull ruled on Wednesday that so called Indy campers are no longer allowed to hold a permanent vigil outside the Edinburgh based legislature.

In a written judgement issued at the Court of Session, Lord Turnbull concluded that it wouldn’t breach the human rights of campers to be denied a permanent presence on the Parliament’s grounds.

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Lord Turnbull wrote: “The officials of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body have made it plain to the respondents that there are other opportunities for them to legitimately exercise rights of freedom of speech and assembly.

Picture: PA

“The officials remain open to negotiations with the respondents to permit the exercise of these rights through events such as meetings, vigils and protests so long as these comply with the petitioner’s policy on such conduct.”

The decision follows months of litigation by the Scottish Parliament’s Corporate Body.

Lawyers acting for the corporate body claimed that the independence camp was stopping others from using the parliament’s facilities.

However, independence campers used eccentric arguments before the judge in a bid to allow them to stay on.

Picture: JP

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Independence campers say Jesus wants them to stay outside Scottish Parliament

A man claiming to be the Archangel Michael said the presence of the camp would encourage the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The heavenly being, who currently resides in Sheffield, Yorkshire, also thought that judges who weren’t directly appointed by the Judeo-Christian God should be executed.

Other protestors claimed that Jesus Christ himself had made it known that the “Sovereign Indigenous Peoples of Scotland” should be allowed to remain in their camp.

Picture: JP

Protestor Richard McFarlane told Lord Turnbull: “We have spoken to Jesus who is here for his second coming and he would like you to stop this if you can please.”

Lord Turnbull inspired the Twitter hashtag PrayforLordTurnbull for his patience with the protestors during proceedings.

But on Wednesday, Lord Turnbull concluded that it wouldn’t breach the human rights of protestors if they were evicted from the site.

The camp is located on ground which the Corporate Body says is an area for people wishing to protest.

Picture: PA

Lord Turnbull said that available evidence showed that the campers had damaged ground at the parliament by parking vehicles there.

He also concluded that their presence was discouraging other people from using the facility.

He wrote: “In essence the respondents’ position seems to be be that their rights under article 10 and 11 should trump both the petitioner’s right to possession and the rights of others to enjoy undisturbed use of the grounds.

“This rather selfish or even arrogant approach was well illustrated in two ways.

“First by the way in which the respondents felt able to hold a barbecue and social gathering in and around the area of the camp which they openly advertised on social media.

“Second, the affidavits provided, as taken along with the photographs, make it plain that damage has been caused to the grounds of the Parliament by vehicles being parked on the grassed areas and by other means.

Picture: JP

“No explanation has been offered to explain this, to my mind, quite remarkable conduct. It would be perfectly obvious to anyone parking their vehicle on the grassed area of the grounds of the Scottish Parliament that to do so would cause damage.

“That conduct displays open disregard for the rights of others to enjoy the grounds in their undisturbed form.

“There is nothing in the nature of any of the respondents protests or vigils which required them or anyone else to park, any, far less so many motor vehicles on the grassed areas of the Parliamentary grounds.

“The adjacent car park, although requiring payment provides entirely adequate and suitable parking facilities.

“The interference with the respondents article 10 and 11 rights which would be caused by granting the order sought is targeted, limited and will not deprive them of the essence of their rights.

“The order sought by the petitioner does not substantially impair the ability to protest at the grounds of the Scottish Parliament.

“It may interfere with the respondents wish to conduct their vigil in the manner and form of their choosing but they are mistaken in considering that they have an unfettered right to make this choice.

“The balance which has to be struck in light of all the circumstances I have identified comes down firmly in favour of holding that the interference caused by granting the orders sought is proportionate.”

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body now have the legal authority to proceed against the campers.

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Picture: JP