Section 14 - Guilty (2): 27/11/19

Court date



City of London Magistrates

Hearing date:


Wednesday 27 Nov 2019 (Day 3)

Bench (DJ or JPs)



Charged with:


4 counts of knowing non-compliance with Section 14, WB: 16, 17, 19, 21 April.

Represented by:



Please outline key points prosecution and defence case(s).


P: Orders are lawful, despite some dispute about increasingly incoherent wording as they get reviewed and renewed by different senior officers. Bodyworn (it must have been Day 2) clearly shows Defendant to be aware of order(s) and wilfully non-complying.

D: Defendant, a Buddhist teacher who lives on donations, only disputes knowledge for first arrest on 16 April, when he realizes he is being asked to be somewhere else but does not fully understand S14.

His defence is a principled one of Necessity. On the stand he outlines the science and its urgency. He was on WB in a caring, de-escalating role. Once he understood S14, he still felt it was necessary to stay put as a conscious choice, to maintain the different sites with their different messages for as long as possible. The importance of ‘Sacrifice’ and its effect on collective consciousness. Argued a direct causality between ‘criminal’ action of remaining and mitigation of deadly air pollution over the period of the occupation.  

Was defence evidence submitted in writing?


Police interviews (2) were read out.




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




Yes, answering as above

What was the verdict?


Finding the relevant orders (imposed by MacMillan, Galvin, Johnson) lawful, reasonable and proportionate, DJ rejects Necessity (as in all other cases at this trial): the nexus between action and goal is insufficient. Guilty on all 4 counts.

What was the sentence?


9 months conditional discharge

What costs were awarded?


£496 + 20 as requested by Crown, total £516. 2 weeks to pay

Please add anything else relevant.


Defendant was fearful about the restrictions conviction might place on his spiritual ministry (lots of foreign travel). Judge advised him to look up the law, reassuring him that a conditional discharge once spent is not like a record.

This summary is based on observation of Day 3 of this 5-person trial. I received some notes about Day 1, but did not see bodyworn or police evidence. Don’t have much detail on the prosecution of each of the 4 arrests. However, there is so much recapping at every step that I hope it’s a fairly accurate summary of this defendant’s case.