Greenpeace 10 found ‘not guilty’ after blocking PNR fracking site entrance

IssueDecember 2017 - January 2018
News by David Polden

On 3 November, 10 Greenpeace anti-fracking activists were acquitted of highway obstruction by Blackpool magistrates court. The 10 had locked themselves together for eight hours, blockading the entrance to the Cuadrilla shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road near Blackpool in May.

In his judgement, the district judge said: ‘I have to consider location, duration, interference with the rights of others and overall reasonableness. If the crown cannot show that these defendants were unreasonable then they will fail in their attempt to secure convictions. There was in fact no disruption to traffic on the A583 and vehicles were able with little apparent difficulty to exit the Cuadrilla site….

‘The defendants have raised and established lawful excuse to the extent that it would fall to the prosecution to rebut this. The prosecution has not, on the evidence, shown to my satisfaction that the defendants have been unreasonable… I find the defendants not guilty.’

Did the reasonableness of the action (for the judge) depend on them largely failing to obstruct vehicles entering the site? Would he have changed his view that they had a legal excuse for their actions if they had been more successful?