Obstruction of the Highway - Guilty: 04/05/21

Court date



City of London Magistrates’ – Court 3

Hearing date:


Tuesday, 4th May 2021

Bench (DJ or JPs)


D.J. Woodcock

Charged with:


S137. Wilful Obstruction of the Highway on 9/10/19 at Whitehall

Represented by:



Please outline key points in prosecution and defence cases.


Woodcock and Raj in the same court. Wow! When I heard she had 12 exhibits, I knew we were in for an exciting session. It turned out all the exhibits were scientific reports, so Raj only needed to say who wrote each one and why; they were then left for the judge to read at his leisure. That was a neat way around the science, so on with the defence.

Ms. T. Lubimbi (CPS) finished her presentation with Occupation = Obstruction.

Raj said that Ziegler did away with the previous description of a highway being for traffic “to pass and repass”; the highway was now a shared space: pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. So, Wren had the same right to be in the highway as a vehicle. Occupation is not the same as obstruction. So, was the state interference proportionate? Was the criminalisation of the defendant proportionate to clearing the highway? No. He was prepared to cite a number of European cases but the judge knew them.

Although Wren had arrived early, the protest had already started and she joined in. She walked when arrested, she didn’t flop. A car had arrived before her, the occupants had jumped out and locked on. Police said that a senior cop had said it would take 3 hours to unlock them. Wren would have left before 3 hours. So the obstruction of the highway was not done by her, nor solved by her removal. He gave an example of traffic stopped outside the courthouse for any reason, Wren jumps in with a banner and leaves before the jam clears. Is that obstruction? “Why can’t releasing locked-on protesters over 3 hours allow others to use that space for protest”.

Raj then read out shining character references, one after the other, starting with a University of Northampton professor, Richard Daley MBE. This lady has led an amazing life, working for children here and abroad. Raj said she “was acting for people not yet born, acting for people she’s never met”.

Another quote from Raj, “They never ran necessity in Ziegler, it was all about Article 10”.


Was defence evidence submitted in writing?



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

Yes, yes

What was the verdict,
sentence, costs?


The judge's findings came down to: she could have moved to the side of the road, she didn’t.

Guilty: 6 mths c/d; £500 costs; £21 v/s to be paid in 28 days.

Please add anything else relevant.


To my untrained eye, it looks like the judge was stood over. The only freedom he had was the sentence: 6 months is very unusual in NG pleas. He also dropped the £775 costs requested by CPS to £500.