Last updated 16.11.2020
A meeting was held on 13 November 2020 for defendants charged under Section 241 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992
Solicitors attending were Simon Natas (ITN), Raj Chada and Mike Schwarz (HJA), Hollie Collinge (Kellys).
Introduction to the legislation
S241 is about compelling someone not to do a legal activity. It was originally drawn up to prosecute pickets outside workplaces. It was rarely used and had almost disappeared until used against anti-fracking campaigners. In many ways it is an alternative to Aggravated Trespass and is also a summary offence.
NB Most people have been charged under S241(d) – watching or besetting a workman’s house or place of work. This may be changed to S241(c) – hiding clothes, tools or other property – on the day of the hearing.
The prosecution has to prove
1. that the base offence (often obstruction or (civil) trespass) was committed
2. that work was actually stopped (the intention to do so is insufficient)
3. that the workmen had a legal right to do the work.
3. is more relevant to stopping tree felling than blocking entrances. HS2 has not begun to engage with regulation and has been reckless around wildlife. Defence has to show that the core activity – cutting trees – was unlawful. Badgers, birds, newts and (especially) bats are protected. Have they applied for/received bat licences for all affected areas? Denham used to be a wildlife park: HS2 applied for bat licences on the basis that those trees were suitable for bats.
Likely penalty on conviction
Conditional Discharge or fine plus contribution to prosecution costs. Compensation unlikely as not a civil case. Fine and costs both means tested.