Climate direct action - 16 JSO acquittals

IssueFebruary - March 2024
News by PN staff

There don’t seem to have been any Just Stop Oil (JSO), Extinction Rebellion or Insulate Britain arrests since PN last came out, in late November.

On 8 January, JSO began negotiations with the Metropolitan police over its ‘slow walking’ campaign of disrupting traffic in London.

JSO presented the Met with evidence that the government was guilty of the crime of ‘genocide by oblique intent’, by developing new oil and gas projects.

JSO offered to pause disruptive actions if the Met was to investigate this criminal behaviour by the government.

Separately, 16 JSO supporters have recently been acquitted or had charges against them dropped.

Clara O’Callahan, Ella-Rose Paez, Julia Redman and Bethon Roberts were found ‘not guilty’ of highway obstruction at Stratford magistrates court in East London on 27 November.

District judge Matthew Bone said their action, blocking Piccadilly in Central London on 26 October 2022, was not a ‘significant disruption’, and the issue of government licensing of new fossil fuel projects was of high importance to the public.

A week later, on 5 December, seven more JSO activists were found ‘not guilty’ of obstructing the highway by district judge (DJ) Bone at Stratford magistrates court.

Thomas Adams, Kate Bramfitt, Tommy Burnett, Gillian Leader, Ben Plumpton, Fiona Prior and Jane Thewlis had disrupted traffic at St George’s Circus in South London in October 2022.

DJ Bone found that their action was proportional under Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

On 13 December, charges were dropped against Cressida Gethin (21) after she had spent 23 days on remand, waiting for trial, in HMP Bronzefield, after being arrested slow walking in Central London in November. No reasons were given for the case being dropped.

On 8 January, another four JSO activists were acquitted at Stratford magistrates court, this time by district judge Vanessa Lloyd.

Dave Boden, Annotony Cottam, Miranda Forward and Chris Hardy had blocked roads around Parliament Square in Central London, but DJ Lloyd found they had a lawful excuse for their actions.

Don’t deport Marcus

At the time of going to press, over 150,000 people had signed an online petition opposing the deportation of Marcus Drecker, a German citizen and JSO supporter, who climbed the Queen Elizabeth II bridge in October 2022, closing the Dartford Crossing for 40 hours, and who has been serving a sentence of two years and seven months.

Morgan Trowland, who climbed the bridge with Marcus, was released in December.

The main direct action news from Extinction Rebellion recently seems to have been that on 18 December co-founder Gail Bradbrook was given a 15-month suspended jail sentence, and 150 hours of community service, for criminal damage. She had broken a window at the department of transport in October 2019 as a climate protest.

For it’s part, Insulate Britain has not recorded any direct action news or court news since the end of November.