Criminal Damage - Guilty: 17/10/19

Court date

Court: City of London Magistrates

Hearing date: 17th October 2019

Bench: JPs

Charged with: Criminal damage

Represented by: Bindman's (barrister)


Prosecution case: 

He spray painted a wooden board on the gates of Downing Street in November 2018.

Defence case:

Accepted he had done the act of spray painting but argued:

  1. It was chalk based paint and so not permanent and so not ‘damage’ under the Criminal Damage Act

  2. It washes off easily so there was no legal intention to permanently damage

  3. Under the Human Rights Act his act was reasonable and proportionate

  4. Necessity/nexus

Was defence evidence submitted in writing? No

Did defence witness(es) give evidence in person? Were they cross-examined? He gave evidence in the witness box. He wasn’t cross-examined. He spoke at length of his deeply held Quaker beliefs and that he had a moral compunction to act and the magistrates gave him a lot of time to talk about this.

NOTE: The magistrates asked when Parliament had passed the climate emergency resolution. When they were told it was May 2019 that seemed to have decided them that the nexus argument wasn’t appropriate. If it was for an April trial though that may be more relevant as they were interested in the defendant’s long history of campaigning and that nothing had really changed as a result whereas the April actions did at least result in something.

Verdict: Guilty

Sentence: He had 8 previous XR (or XR-type) convictions plus he had breached a CD of 12 months imposed in June 2018. But they still only gave him a fine of £120 plus £20 and another six months CD.

Costs: £300 (reduced from £450 that the prosecution asked for).