Section 14 - Guilty: 25/05/21

Court date



City of London Magistrates’ – Court 2

Hearing date:


Tuesday, 25th May 2021

Bench (DJ or JPs)


Lay Bench

Charged with:


Breach of S14 condition on 3/9/20 at Peers’ Car Park Entrance, House of Lords

Represented by:



Please outline key points in prosecution and defence cases.


All 3 protested together outside the Peers’ Car Park by sitting down and glueing on.

Asst. Comm. Louise Rolfe was called as a witness. She was the senior police officer that created the Section 14 conditions because she believed the protest would create “serious disruption to the life of the community”. Protests could only occur in Parliament Square Gardens and its eastern footpath, between 0800 and 1900 hours.

The defendants claimed to be a separate protest to XR, calling themselves “Rebellion Goes To Parliament” (RGTP). A.C. Rolfe only talked with XR coordinators, not RGTP and assumed they were one of the many XR affiliates. When asked if the S14 was limited to Parliament Square, she said, “Yes, and the locality”. When pressed, she said that it only says where they can protest, not the area it applies to.

Defence tried saying the prosecution had no case to answer:
(1) The arresting officers did not have a copy of the S14.
(2) They did not explain what an S14 was.
(3) The S14 did not show how close to the designated protest area the restriction was. The prosecution’s map showed the assembly area but the protest area was off the map. He asked when does it become sufficient distance?
(4) The protesters were peaceful, not disrupting, not obstructing, not intimidating, no violence, just sitting singing.
(5) Nothing said they could not protest outside the House of Lords.

The bench decided they did have a case to answer.

The protesters were not obstructing traffic, cars could come and go without hindrance. Defendant was arrested before being unglued, so had no opportunity to move to Parliament Square Gardens. She was then handcuffed.

In closing, the defence said that there was an assumption the protesters knew about S14s and this one’s conditions. They were never shown a map. An S14 requires an explanation, with reference to human rights. There should also be an explanation of effects of refusal, not just “arrested”. Pointing to the designated area was not enough, especially when the defendants were not engaged. It is a breach of common law to not say what and what not to do: most lay persons would not know an S14, therefore an S14 must be fully explained.

Defendant made an amazing closing speech ‘off the cuff’, there is no written copy. She said, “I’d rather not be on trial for being true to my conscience. I’d rather build my career. I’d rather not understand the science, it is too distressing. I’d rather not look at my 10 year old niece, it is terrifying. I’d rather not know that millions of people will be displaced in the next 30 years. I’d rather not experience my future as it stands. Rosa Parks, if she had moved 4m down the bus, nothing would have changed. But I have no choice. I’ll keep doing what I have done, guilty or not guilty.

Was defence evidence submitted in writing?


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

Yes and Yes. She was her only witness.

What was the verdict,
sentence, costs?


This is not a court of morals, it is a court of law. You knowingly failed to comply with the S14 in force that day. We are satisfied with the Facts, including Rebellion Goes To Parliament being part of XR. A.C. Rolfe considered there would be serious disruption to the life of the community, so issued an S14 order. Parliament Square Gardens and its east-side footpath were designated as a place of protest near the Houses of Parliament. She considered this to be within the conditions of Articles 10 and 11 of the Human Rights Act. You protesters chose not to engage or interact with the police officers, in fact you were singing. You chose not to comply. Although glued on, you were offered help but you ignored this.

All three of you deliberately breached the Section 14 condition to protest in Parliament Square Gardens, so we find you ...


9 months c/d; £200 costs; £22 v/s to be paid at £5/wk or £20/mth

Taken into consideration: out of 6 months conditional discharge period; unemployed; had to travel to England to appear in court.

Please add anything else relevant.


To my lay eye, this trial looked like a golden opportunity to declare any S14 unenforceable. This protest was some way from Parliament Square and could have been declared outside the area of this S14. But an S14 doesn’t define an area. This S14 could have been used in York if there had been an XR protest there that day! The defence lawyer tried to say there wasn’t a case to answer. I think he could have tried harder.