Section 14 - Not Guilty: 29/11/19

Court date



City of London

Hearing date:



Bench (DJ or JPs)


DJ Noble 

Charged with:


S14    16.4.19

Represented by:


Self rep

Please outline prosecution and defense case(s).



CPS asking for delay to access body cam footage, 10 minutes requested, judge refused, giving 5 minutes, saying that the defendant has travelled a long way to get here.

CPS gave prosecution outline, Ch Ins Mc Millan setting the conditions etc.

Pc Fernley was arresting officer.


Ch Insp McMillan gave evidence. Two statements made in April (14th) and June, first one being the evidence statement, second the exhibit evidence.

Statement for April adopted by judge, and then put onto screen.

CH Insp related the scene on the bridge as he had encountered it on the day.

Judge asked him how many people he estimated to be on the bridge at the time.

Ch Insp said large number, atmosphere generally amicable.

Ch Insp decided to impose a “ No time limit “,  as the best way of implementing conditions.


CPS asked Ch Insp explained how Marble Arch had become the designated official protest site.

CPS spent some time in eliciting  from the CH Insp his reasoning for imposing the conditions, and what alternatives he would have had chosen: Hackney Marshes or Croydon.


Defendant pleads not guilty  .


She was arrested when she was acting as a legal observer during the protest


She cross examined the Ch Insp .


“ before the 16th April, were you aware of independent legal observers ?”

“ yes, aware of their role “


“ were you aware of the organisation Green and Black cross ? “ judge struck this , since ch insp did not know what this organisation was. 


“what was your understanding of the role of legal observers ?”

  • They would be negotiating with protesters, and explain what was involved in arrest procedures.


“are you aware  of any other legal observers being arrested and prosecuted before the 16th?”   “ no “

(The defendant stated that two of her observer colleagues had been arrested and no charges subsequently brought)

“are you aware that no further arrests of legal observers were made for rest of protest?” “` no “`


The judge asked if the defendant was a member of XR.  McMillan, interestingly, pointed out to the Judge that XR does not have members or leaders.


Defendant wanted to ask if arresting PC was going to be present – answer from CPS in No , judge  added  that often the evidence ,and body cam footage is

 “ preferable “


CPS read out arresting officer’s statement.


Footage shown. Defendant acting as observer for another legal observer who was being arrested, when she was arrested herself. There was a very short time between the officer's warning and the defendant's arrest.  Mc Millan stated that there were protesters "queuing up to be arrested".  So why was a legal observer, who was walking about, not sitting awaiting arrest as many protested were doing, arrested!

Was defense evidence submitted in writing?


  1.   The 'bust card', information and training guide for Green and Black Cross observer.




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


Yes .


Defendant read out her statement.  She was working for Green and Black Cross organisation. She read out the job description for a legal observer, emphasising that observers do not participate in the protest, and that their role is to monitor arrests and keep notes, liaise with friends and relatives, and give out info to rebels as required.


Judge asked to have a look at the “BUST Card” that Green and Black observers hand out to rebels.


Judge asked if observers are affiliated to XR – defendant said no.


Defendant, on day of arrest, was there solely in role of legal observer.

She support other protests, animal rights, student protests etc.


Defendant said that in her role she will not hamper the work of the police in any way, and will leave site when duties are finished.


Defendant wanted to emphasise again that she was not part of the XR protest.


Defendant had no intention of causing disruption, did not engage with the protesters singing etc. and was not part of the organisation of the protest.


Defendant had never heard of a legal observer being arrested before.

Two of the other observers who were arrested that night have not been charged.


She contends that at the beginning of the weeks protest, legal observers were possibly being targeted by the police.


She contends that any member of the public should be able to witness an arrest, as long as they are not hampering the work of the police, and that to have left the bridge on the initial request would have set a precedent that conflicts with this principle.


Character references given to CPS



CPS cross examining defendant.


CPS – asked if defendant could have been replaced by another observer, defendant replied that one had already been arrested, which had placed her in a dilemma – if she had left she would have left protesters exposed and unsupervised.


What was the verdict?


Not guilty


Judge clear that S14 was legally made


Question is, was this defendant a part of the protest?


Judge very impressed with the defendant’s testimony, and so on this specific occasion not convinced that defendant  was doing anything other than her  legal observers duty as outlined by herself and was not part of the Extinction Rebellion Protest, so was not subject to the S14 Public Order, which was specifically designed to restrict the disruption of the protesters.



What was the sentence?


 Not Guilty.  No case to answer

What costs were awarded?


£150 for  travel

Please add anything else relevant.


Judge “speaking out of turn, I have heard five days testimony and haven’t heard a word of criticism against a police officer “- he meant from the rebels .