XR Legal Support Trial Observation
Court: City of London Mags
Hearing date: 21/10/2019
Bench (DJ or JPs): Lay bench
Plea: Late guilty plea
Charged with: Section 14 Public Order Act
Defendant was by tent, part of a group approached by PC who asked what plans were. Defendant stated they were deciding whether to move - PLO was to return shortly as they were negotiating. Rebels said they would move so long as stage could stay in Marble Arch one more day for closing day. PC gave 3 warnings and explained conditions. Defendant confirmed understood. 3 warnings that would be arrested. Defendant declined to move and was arrested. Walked to van. PC offered a chance to be de-arrested and Defendant said it wasn’t the right thing to do. Defendant was taken to PS and interviewed. Prepared statement - words to the effect of “taking part in a peaceful demo. I believe that we need to take urgent action to force government to take action. I have no option but civil disobedience.” this led to formal charge.
The only other issue is the impact statement by PC. Documents disruption between 15 and 26 April due to protests and cumulative effects taking place at these sites over direct impact to half a million passengers. 55 buses redirected, Victoria coach station effected and delay caused
Delays documented from 15 to 23 April. R didn’t read out 10 page statement. Just context to level of disruption which was caused.
Cost application - inspector did attend, because Defendant did not indicate guilty plea until Friday. No time to de-warn. Cross application for £620. Normally costs are in the region on £900 but no skeleton arguments or legal arguments in this case.
Late guilty plea. Simply stated why XR was important and stressed that they had already said they were going to move when they were arrested, they were just waiting for PLO
Was defence evidence submitted in writing? 2 x character statements
Did defence witness(es) give evidence in person? Were they cross-examined? No just a brief plea in mitigation
What was the verdict? Guilty
What was the sentence? 6 month conditional discharge. Victim surcharge £20
What costs were awarded? £620