Criminal damage - Guilty: 01/06/21

Court date



Westminster Magistrates’ – Court 10

Hearing date:


Tuesday, 1st June 2021

Bench (DJ or JPs)


DJ Ms. Tempia

Charged with:


Criminal Damage on 26/2/20 to Elizabeth Tower (‘Big Ben’)

Represented by:

Defendant 1 Self – Defendant 2 – represented by Caroline Stewart (HJA)

Please outline key points in prosecution and defence cases.


These two sprayed fake oil from hand-held fire extinguishers onto the wall of Elizabeth Tower while other protesters held banners saying, “Time is Running Out”. Get it? Big Ben and time! They all had black t-shirts with yellow writing saying, “We Act in Peace”.

The defendants took every precaution to ensure the fake oil would wash off. They had  successfully tested it on stonework. The problem was, because of construction work on the tower, it was covered in hoardings, each worth £300. These hoardings came from the factory pre-sprayed with a powder paint that couldn’t be painted over, nor could they access the damage 25m off the ground. All solutions to the problem were blighted by access and security. The paint is still there and has soaked into 25 hoardings, permanently.

Prosecution reckoned they had caused £3,600 damage.

The judge did take their precautions seriously, but did not consider it an “art installation” like the defendant had.

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?


£500 compensation; 3 mths c/d; no v/s to be paid at £20/mth

Please add anything else relevant.


No-one gets 3 months condition discharge – until now!

The brilliant part of this defence was that Def 2 was represented while Def 1 self-rep’d. This gave them the advantages of both: a legal defence and a self-rep final statement.

Def 1  gave an amazing final statement. I‘ve asked her to submit a copy to xr-statements. It was so moving that she broke down during it – even after practising it several times before court. I’m positive it influenced the judge’s sentence, it’s a shame it didn’t influence the verdict.