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

Court date



City of London Magistrates’ – Court 2

Hearing date:


Wednesday, 5th May 2021

Bench (DJ or JPs)


Dep DJ Alwyn Davis

Charged with:


S137. Wilful Obstruction of the Highway on 7/10/19 at Millbank, nr Lambeth Bridge

Represented by:



Please outline key points in prosecution and defence cases.


This looked like an ordinary S137 trial with a predictable end. It was the end which was surprising – see below.

CPS called the arresting officer, who greeted defendant like an old friend. It was disclosed they spent 7 hours together in custody! She certainly went out of her way to waste police time, very civilly, very politely. The facts of the arrest were not disputed. The defendant cross-examined to confirm how civilly she had behaved throughout.

Defence stated that she would not have protested if the road had not been closed. But because the police had a cordon up, keeping the protesters safe, she went into the road. She also stated, without proof, that another protester, arrested that day was acquitted.

She went on to show she had sufficient reason; legitimate excuse; this was the most reasonable way to protest; she had considered the rights of the community against her rights: they needed to be informed of the coming crisis.

Her background included time spent in the Ganges delta in the 80s, making friends she was still in contact with today whose livelihood was dramatically affected by climate change, with people dying right now. She now lives in Devon and had seen 60-year floods two years in a row, 2018 and 2019 – never heard of before. There will be more, in London too.

She had seen decades of protests which had had little to no effect on politicians. Until XR started. She saw how XR had succeeded in a year where others had failed over decades. It seemed that ordinary protests did not work for our politicians: non-violent disruptive action was needed to get them moving. Therefore that’s what she did. She would not have been there if more peaceful methods could have worked. She didn’t want to be there, it was totally against her nature, she was terrified, she was shaking. She finished by saying that her protest was insignificant in comparison to the crisis that is coming.

Prosecution cross-examined, just asking if the policeman had asked her to move. Yes. Did you move? No. That’s all, your Honour.

Her closing statement challenged “imminent”, but it fell on deaf ears.

Dep DJ Davis found her guilty, then gave her a fine!

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?



£325 fine; £500 costs; £32 v/s to be paid in 28 days

Please add anything else relevant.


I have NEVER seen a fine given for a s137 offence by an XR protester ‘of good character’. I would love to see this judgement appealed. I’m pretty sure we’d win.