XR LEGAL SUPPORT TRIAL OBSERVATION
Court: Hendon Magistrates Court
Hearing date: 04/10/19
Bench: District Judge Gladwell
Case no. 1901267819
Plea: Not Guilty.
Charge: knowingly failing to comply with a direction under of s.14 of POA 1986 (failing to move from Waterloo Bridge on 16/4/19)
s.14 order put in place by Superintendent McMillan, based on evidence of serious disruption to the community. McMillan statement accepted by Defence and so Prosecution didn’t call him as witness (he had come to Court but was sent home). Prosecution cited James vs. DPP regarding reasonableness of the opinion and communication of the order to the Defendant. DJ Gladwell criticised the Prosecution for submitting a copy of McMillan’s statement that had no signature or date. Arresting Officer’s statement also accepted by the Defence. Body worn video (which Defendant hadn’t seen before) showed Defendant acknowledging the arresting officer, receiving the warning and then walking away from the site. Prosecution referred to No Comment interview.
Defendant understands the police duty to prevent disruption but has seen no impact from years of past climate campaigns and took a decision to put himself at risk and get arrested. He doesn’t regret it because it is necessary as part of a bigger effort to shake us out of our inertia. Complying with s.14 by moving to Marble Arch wouldn’t have gained much profile, whereas the disruption on Waterloo Bridge caused a gear change. Defendant’s defence is that the action was necessary and that, whilst Courts dismiss such action as not preventing ‘imminent’ death or damage to property, climate change is in fact causing deaths (e.g. through drought) and Defendant’s action was appropriate and proportionate.
No defence evidence had been submitted in writing. No witnesses were called other than Defendant, who was given 5-10 minutes in the witness box.
Sentence: 9 months conditional discharge
Costs: Crown asked for £620 for each of Defendant and a second defendant, who was tried at the same time. Defendant was asked about his earnings orally. The DJ split those costs in half and awarded £310 plus the £20 victim surcharge, to be paid by the Defendant within 14 days
Other comments:The 9-month conditional discharge period contrasts with the 12 months that was given to another defendant (Hendon 30/9/2019), which the DJ in that case said was the minimum possible.