Guard Martin Zee wins court case

Published in Solidarity 433, 22 March 2017:

RMT member Martin Zee has won an important legal battle concerning his actions as a train guard.

Martin was working as a guard on a Merseyrail train in 2015 when an elderly passenger tried to board a train after the door closure procedure had started and the door alarms were sounding. She fell between the platform and the train and was injured. Martin carried out his role properly, ensuring the train and track were made safe and climbing down to support and reassure the passenger until the emergency services arrived.

Merseyrail’s investigation into the incident identified improvements to systems of working rather than apportion any individual fault. But despite this, the Crown Prosecution Service decided to take legal action against Martin under a statute dating back to 1861. Last week, Liverpool Crown Court found Martin not guilty.

The prosecution of Martin Zee took place in a political context. The government and profit-motivated train operating companies want trains to be operated by drivers only, without the support of guards. This prosecution was a vindictive attempt to discredit guards to make it easier to scrap them. So the ‘not guilty’ verdict is not only a huge relief for Martin but a welcome blow to the push towards driver-only operation.

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