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Bristol Indymedia Server Seizure Update
An update of events around the 2005 server seizure
Bristol Indymedia Server Seizure Update; On 27th June 2005 the Bristol Indymedia server was taken off line by the police due to an article alleging damage of vehicles on a freight train. The seizure of the server was carried out under a search warrant (police and criminal evidence act 1984, ss.8 and 15). The police also arrested a Bristol Indymedia volunteer for the common law offence of "incitement to criminal damage." No charges were ever brought and the equipment seized has since been returned.
On the advice of our solicitor, Bristol Indymedia met with representatives of British Transport Police on the 24th September 2007 to discuss the issue of the server seizure and arrest of a Bristol Indymedia volunteer on the 27th June 2005. The Detective Inspector under whom these events had occurred has now retired and the meeting was conducted on behalf of British Transport police by the new Detective Inspector who was not involved in the case at the time. He said that if he had been conducting the investigation then, personally speaking, he would have accepted that the Bristol Indymedia server should have been treated under law as a piece of journalistic equipment (as also contented by Liberty's legal director) under section 9 and not 8 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. He also accepted that following the investigation and, counter to information given to the police at the time by an informant, the position of Bristol Indymedia was correct in that we did not have the IP data the police were seeking. However British Transport Police maintain that the arrest and seizure were legal and required for their investigation. Bristol Indymedia has invited the police to make an offer of financial compensation for the damage to one for the computers seized in the raid and returned in an inoperable condition in October 2005.