HSBC protestors set for March trial

10 January 2011

Two demonstrators who staged a sit-in at a British branch of HSBC will face trial in March, after being accused of committing public order offences.

Protestors voiced their opposition to the prosecution of Patrick Reay and Mark Pearson before their preliminary hearing last week, but the pair were told they would be up before a court once more on March 28th 2011.

Despite police warnings, the pair occupied an HSBC outlet on Grey Street in Newcastle-upon-Tyne as part of action against government increases to tuition fees, alleging that the financial giant is a serial tax avoider.

"I should never have been arrested in the first place. I was just expressing my right to demonstrate peacefully," Mr Pearson told the Press Association. "When the police told me to leave HSBC ... I did, peacefully. I did nothing wrong."

HSBC branches in Liverpool and London's Covent Garden were again targeted by anti-avoidance group UK Uncut last month, despite the bank's insistence that its tax dealings have been transparent.

By Gary Cooper

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