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Mclibel Trial

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McLibel Trial

It was the longest trial in British history. Small time activists, Helen Steel and Dave Morris, of the group London Greenpeace brought up on libel charges by McDonald's Corporation were found guilty and ordered to pay GBP sixty thousand. "McDonald's don't deserve a penny, and in any event we haven't got any money," Helen stated in court. When you have nothing you have nothing to lose.

Leaflets created by the group were being distributed to the public. They contained several strong allegations against McDonald's, and supplied proof in court was quite strong. However, the judge's decision, after two years of trial and forty thousand pages of documentary evidence, in United Kingdom court was based on an absence of proof for all of the claims, and therefore concluded that they had committed libel against McDonald's and should be held accountable to pay for damages.

The leaflet attacked almost all aspects of the corporation's business, accusing them of exploiting children with advertising, promoting an unhealthy diet, exploiting their staff and being responsible for environmental damage and ill treatment of animals.

"The McLibel Trial."

This ruling; however, was appealed to the European Court. It was concluded there that conviction of Helen and Dave breeched freedom of expression security. Moreover, the court ruled that United Kingdom laws had failed to protect the public's right to criticize massive corporations whose business practices mat be affecting people's health and lives and the environment. The appeal took three months, beginning and ending in 1999, a mere moment compared to McLibel's two year long deraignment. Legal time ticks slowly on its own big and fancy clock.

On the 15th of April, 2005, to mark 50 years to the day since the McDonald's Corporation opened its first store (Des Plaines, Illinois, USA), there was a protest outside McDonald's Euro-HQ in Finchley, North London. Dave



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