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July 13 UPDATE: Prosecutors have decided to appeal the decision. More info will be provided upon receipt.

By Rady Ananda

On June 28, 2011, the court of Poitiers in central France acquitted eight defendant Volunteer Reapers (les Faucheurs Volontaires) of destroying a genetically modified field trial in 2008.

Among those acquitted were anti-globalist Jose Bove and Francois Dufour, recognized as “repeat offenders.” (Image: Jose Bove)

The court also dismissed Monsanto’s financial claims. Apart from their own legal expenses, the Reapers owe nothing for the 2008 mowing of a GM field trial of Monsanto’s GM corn, Mon810 x Nk603.

The trial marked the third court victory for Volunteer Reapers. Previously, the Chartres 58 and the Orleans 49 were also acquitted, notes the Inf’OGM press release.

The Poitiers decision relied on a technical issue which recognized that the wrong charges were brought against the group since they destroyed a GM field trial, not GM crops being commercially grown.

In 2008, the law was changed to differentiate destruction of a commercial field from a field trial, the latter being considered a “thought crime” rather than destruction of property.

“As the sprinkler waters, the prosecutor and Monsanto are tripped in the process they themselves have established,” notes Inf’OGM.

Though Monsanto said it will not appeal this case, prosecutors have the option of bringing new charges under the correct law, and Monsanto has the option of pursuing civil charges.

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