Criminal Damage - Not Guilty: 13/01/21

Court date



City of London Magistrates’ – Court 3

Hearing date:

13th January, 2021

Bench (DJ or JPs)

D.J. Mr. Ezzat

Charged with:

Criminal Damage

Represented by:

Raj (HJA)

Please outline key points in prosecution and defence cases.

All 3 defendants superglued themselves, naked, with placards covering their chests and groins, at the H&M shop in Oxford St. on 3rd September, 2020.

CPS spent some time trying to establish a scratch on the window was caused by one or more of the defendants. This was the Criminal Damage. But the photo of the scratch was taken a month after the action. And, as each defendant said when cross-examined, how could they have had any kind of window scratcher when they were naked? Also, the manager of the shop said H&M was not claiming for a new window.

After some time CPS changed tack to calling two hand prints on the window ‘criminal damage’. These could have been wiped off with acetone.

The judge asked a lot of questions himself. Like, 'why this action?', 'Why naked?', 'Why not clothed in the doorway?', 'Why separate from the other action that day?'. The answers were similar from each defendant: highlight the waste and greed of the fashion industry; to get media attention; being in the doorway would have obstructed shoppers which was unwanted; each day had its highlight action, this was the highlight action of that day, they complemented each other.

So, it came down to the judge’s verdict. He said that either criminal intent or recklessness had to be proven. He said the window scratch was not proven to be caused by the defendants, and there was no other damage, in fact, the defendants had been careful to cause no damage intentionally. So criminal intent was not proven. Recklessness was different. He chose to ignore minor damage to the back panel and floor which was caused as much by the police as by the defendants. It came down to two hand-prints on the glass. Two defendants said they could have been their’s, the other said the police removed all the glue when removing her hands. Nevertheless, those prints could have been washed off with acetone. So no recklessness. So, not guilty.

Was defence evidence submitted in writing?

1 written statement was submitted but not read out, defendant spoke from the witness stand instead.

Did defence witness(es) give evidence in person? Were they cross-examined?

All three gave evidence in person and were cross-examined. Each, in their own way, stated the origin of their belief in the climate emergency and how, after everything else had been tried to get action and failed, they joined XR out of frustration. Their participation in the action was putting that frustration to work. All three said, given the opportunity, they would have gone back to help clean up the shop. 1 defendant was told by police to not go back there.

What was the verdict?

Not Guilty

What was the sentence?


What costs were awarded?


Please add anything else relevant.

Mr. Ezzat stopped proceedings to check the lawfulness of having a witness on video from another country. It transpired that Section 23 of the Coronavirus Act allows that. The case continued.