Section 14 - Guilty: 30/01/20

Charge
Outcome
Court date

Court:

 

City of London Magistrates

Hearing date:

 

30 January 2020

Bench (DJ or JPs)

 

DDJ McDade

Charged with:

 

Section 14, Oxford Circus, 18 April

Represented by:

 

Self

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

 

Prosecution: McMillan made his usual points. No bodyworn shown, by agreement. PC Luvy’s statement accepted without reading.

Defence: Defendant challenged the lawfulness of S14, asking McMillan if he had taken into account the rights of asthmatics (negative). In the stand, she went on to argue she could not be in Marble A without coughing. Also there was interaction with public in OC, as not in MA, and one purpose was to raise awareness. She saw XR activism as her ‘most important work as a GP’.

Necessity: XR presence at OC and elsewhere lowered pollution by 40%: unspecified people will have been saved from serious harm or death by this at that time.

The aim of disruption to change official policy vindicated by prompt declaration of Climate emergency by Parliament, and media coverage raising public awareness and concern.  

Was defence evidence submitted in writing?

 

Yes

 

 

 

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

 

Yes

 

Yes. Crown emphasized imminence criterion as not met, since sought-for action is sometime in future.

What was the verdict?

 

Guilty

What was the sentence?

 

9 months conditional discharge

What costs were awarded?

 

£430 + 20, payable within 28 days.

Please add anything else relevant.

 

At the beginning, McDade warned defendants that so far Necessity had never been found admissible, due to the narrowness of the definition in law; he might agree with all that was said, but would likely be forced to find guilt. He suggested ‘your issue is that there is a climate emergency that required action; that can be advanced cogently as a plea in mitigation … the costs will be less, too’. The defendants opted to go ahead with the defences of necessity and other issues that they had prepared.

Court Supporters queried high costs with Crown after trial. Prosecutor admitted he may have miscalculated. We asked the 2 defendants whether they wished to reopen this after lunch break (has been done before). They decided not to.