Court: City Magistrates Court
Hearing date: 25-27/11/19
Bench (DJ or JPs): DJ Robinson
Charged with: S14 x 2 + 1 obstruction
Represented by: self-representing
Defence and prosecution cases:
The defendant was arrested on 17/04/19 and 20/04/19 on Waterloo Bridge. The defendant was tried alongside 4 other defendants. Two had representation, which was helpful to the defendant.
Day 1: Long discussions between Mr Wainwright, the District Judge (DJ)and the Prosecutor about disclosure of police logs and other information, and whether Section 8 requests seeking disclosure had been made before the deadline.
The Prosecution intended to call 4 senior police officers and 2 arresting officers as witnesses. Two senior officers and 1 arresting officer appeared on Day 1 and it was decided that the evidence of 1 other senior officer could be taken as a written report rather than in person. Leaves 1 more senior officer and one arresting officer still be called.
The lines of defence that will be presented by the defendants were:
#1 – lawfulness of the Section 14, proportionality, necessity
#2 – knowledge of the Section 14 order, injury
#3 – lawfulness, proportionality, necessity
#4 – lawfulness, necessity, knowledge
#5 – lawfulness, proportionality, procedural issues, necessity
Extensive questioning of Chief Supt McMillan by Mr Wainwright who tried to imply that the Section 14 was unlawful because the decision to make the order had been made by Silver and Gold Command in advance and this was “rubber stamped” by Bronze command on site. Other defence arguments about evidence had to do with hearsay evidence as opposed to factual primary source evidence for the disruption caused by the rebellion. Also disputes about edited or unedited bodyworn video camera evidence.
The 17/04/19 arresting officer for #2 testified. Officer said he had been told that #2 had been given a Section 14 warning. The bodyworn footage shows #2 being told he was obstructing the highway and that he should move but was challenged. A woman had her hands over his ears while the defendant was being informed of the arrest. The eventually resulted in the verdict of not guilty on the S14 17/04/19 charge. There was no BWV footage of the 20/04/19 arrest and no evidence of the warning and because he was glued to the road he could not move and therefore was not able to go to Marble Arch. When he was unglued (and pulled out from under the lorry where he had immediately scrambled and which also is where he was injured) he was immediately arrested and therefore couldn’t go to Marble Arch then either. This charge was dropped as the Judge deemed that he was unable to comply with the S14 and there was no evidence that he had a warning.
The defendant made a verbal statement to the fact that it had been necessary for him to ignore any S14 charge on the basis of necessity based on the immediate threat to life from climate change. He also stated that he did not recognize the validity of the court and did not rise for the judge on the reading out of the verdict.
Defendant was informed that there was no S14 charge to answer to on 17/04/19 but was a charge to answer for obstructing a Police officer by rolling under and gluing himself under a lorry and obstructing a police officer on the 20/04/19.
Was defence evidence submitted in writing? No
Did defence witness(s) give evidence in person? Were they cross-examined? No
What was the verdict? Not guilty of the S14 on the 17/04/19 but guilty of obstruction on the 20/04/19
What was the sentence? 6 months Conditional Discharge
What costs were awarded? Court costs of £496 + £20