Obstruction of the Highway - Guilty: 12/05/21

Court date



City of London Magistrates’ – Court 3

Hearing date:


Wednesday, 12th May, 2021

Bench (DJ or JPs)


Dep DJ Davies

Charged with:


S137, Wilful Obstruction of the Highway on 15/10/2019 at Millbank

Represented by:


Will Durrands (Birdmans) – Barrister from 28 Bedford Rd.

Please outline key points in prosecution and defence cases.


1) S14 later proved to be unlawful in High Court.

2) This was the protest outside MI6 which involved a van and caravan with lock-ons. Defendant was not involved with any of that.

3) The bwv footage showed an arrest within 39 seconds, violently handcuffing an unresisting protester (well, until they tried to put on the handcuffs, and he still said nothing), along with a comment from the arresting officer like, “Come on, we haven’t all day, there are better things I can be doing”. He was arrested under “Section 4” of the Public Order Act and S137. No 5-step appeal. All this in front of his 1yo daughter.

4) Defence didn’t challenge Highway, nor the date and place. They did say he was in silent prayer, in a meditative state when the officer was warning him. He asked for the charge to be repeated but was told he had heard the first time. The only chink in this explanation was that he looked up when the cop first approached before going into that ‘meditative state’. The DJ noticed that.

5) They tried the ‘already obstructed’ defence. The van and caravan unlocking was to take 3 hours (stated by police), Defendant sat down after it arrived, and would have left long before the 3 hours was up, so he would have had no affect on the obstruction at all.

6) No proof of any disruption to the local community presented.

7) Proportionality: the short warning time, no time to reflect, no 5-step appeal, use of handcuffs all amounted to inproportionate response by the state.

Was defence evidence submitted in writing?


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

Defendant was the only defence witness.
Yes, he gave evidence.
Yes, he was cross-examined.

What was the verdict,
sentence, costs?


Guilty, his protest was sincere; Ziegler says evidence of local disruption not required; DJ did see him look at the cop initially; warning of arrest not required; could have protested on pavement; noted his complaint of excessive force; prima face case for obstruction.

9 months c/d; £250 costs; £22 v/s at £20/mth, starting 15/6/2019.
CPS had asked for £775 costs, Def £130]

Please add anything else relevant.

Another case where the judge could have let him off because of police mishandling. It seems they are ordered to find Guilt. Their only ‘out’ is to award a lenient sentence, which she did.