Obstructing the railway - Not guilty: 10/01/22

Court date



Inner London Crown

Hearing date:


10/01/22 – 14/01/22

Bench (DJ or JPs)


Judge Silas Reid


Charged with:


Obstruction of the railway

Represented by:


Owen Greenhall, defence barrister, is at Garden Court Chambers and instructed by HJA

Please outline key points in prosecution and defence cases.


This case linked to the DLR2 case, which was a NG verdict.  The CPS put their case very badly and at one point the Judge asked if the defence wanted a retrial. At the end of that case the Judge asked, seriously, that the prosecution ask themselves if the DLR3 case was in the public interest.

This case was more serious, in that the defendants has stopped the DLR running on around 50% of its lines for 75 minutes.

The case centered on the Human Rights Act. The defendants called on their Article 10: freedom of expression; Article 11: freedom of assembly; and Article 9: freedom of belief rights. The Jury had to balance this against those of the public's Article 5 rights to go about their daily life.

Attached is the recordings produced by the Court Support volunteers which provides some of the blow by blow of the proceedings.

Also very relevant was the court’s discussions on Ziegler: see below.

Was defence evidence submitted in writing?






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


Yes, all gave statements.  MN was cross examined thoroughly but SP and PH a very brief cross examination

What was the verdict?


Not Guilty

What was the sentence?



What were the court costs?



Please add anything else relevant.


The Judge was clear that the case brought in new considerations of the Human Rights Act that stem from the Ziegler Supreme Court Ruling and how it should be dealt with in non-obstruction cases and the balance between different groups’ rights under the act. He spent time with the two barristers discussing the issues and I think that he met with them after the case to review the proceedings.





Owen Greenhall from Garden Chambersis representing - not exactly sure if he is defending all 3.  Initially there were 4 but one had their case dropped because of conflicting witness statements. 

John and I were in court today but another case had priority so we only got about an hour where the legal admissions and Jury were sworn in. There had been some agreement already based on the DLR trial before Christmas.  In that trial the public had not been affected.  The train was stationary on a separate platform and there was very little disruption to services.  This one was at Shadwell and the train blocked one of the lines for about an hour. The Judge was mainly concerned about the right to protest set against the right to the general public. There was also discussion about the defendants beliefs and their commitment to Christian Environmentalism, which brings the right to religious belief and practice into the narrative. No decisions were made but the barristers were asked to consider their approach and over an our has been set aside for admissible evidence and legal rulings tomorrow. 


On the discussion, it was interesting that the judge floated the idea that he could advise the jury (at the end of the case) that deterrence is a factor they can take into account - in other words they could find guilty in order to deter others from doing similar things. Owen resisted this saying the trial should be about just this case - there may be more discussion this morning. Definite feeling of pushback from the judge after the acquittal at DLR2.

Will try and get to court this pm



Mr. Blackman present the prosecution's case. His Honour Judge Silas Reid told the jury this case was unusual: most of the details were agreed. The jury had to decide if the disruption the protesters caused was disproportionate or not - for each individual. They had to consider the protesters' human rights - Article 10: freedom of expression; Article 11: freedom of assembly; and, in this case, Article 9: freedom of belief. They then had to balance the protesters' rights against those of the public's right to go about their daily life.
I was ready for the prosecution to present details of massive disruption. Mr. Blackman tried, but his figures of disrupted trains were a sum of 3 disruptions that day which the judge ruled inadmissible as evidence. Instead, we got the disruption as Shadwell Station itself, including one DLR train that was stranded for 30 mins before returning to Limehouse Station. 
He started with the day before the action, when an XR spokesman, Mr. Enoch, told police Superintendent Twyford that an action was going ahead the next day. Twyford tried to dissuade Enoch who said he'd pass that onto the protesters.  The protest started at 0645 on 17th October 2019 and lasted 77 mins before the trains ran again, recovering completely an hour later. Rev SP and Father MN climbed a ladder onto the roof of the train at Shadwell Station, which had been on its way to Bank. PK glued himself to the side of the train. MN told the DLR staff they weren't coming down until the police arrived. One passenger climbed the ladder, ripped a sheet of paper, a speech, from MN's hand and threw it onto the platform and climbed back down. When the police came, they called the Protester Removal Section. Rebels were removed to custody and trains restarted by 0802.
Prosecution called the DC who interviewed the rebels. Only SP talked, and she talked very fluently about why they did this action. Not a convincing part of the CPS' argument.
The jury were let go and told to be back for the Defence case at 10am sharp on Wednesday. After they went, Judge Reid said tomorrow the agreed facts would be presented as well as facts on Climate Change. Necessity has been ruled out, as expected. Then Defence would present.  He also asked Defence to put PK first on Wednesday, because he's more alert in the morning. BTW, PK is on video and is allowed to not be seen or heard when it's not necessary, but he can see and hear the court.  The judge told the public that he had seen us taking notes. He asked that we do so in a way the jurors can't read them. Court 8 is quite small, all on one level, so jurors are quite close to people in the public's seats. Please comply.



MN gave his witness statement in the morning.  As I understand it he covered his involvement as part of XR Christian Climate Action, his beliefs, climate science and the emergency, action planning and safety planning.  I arrived for MN’s cross examination, which was fairly straight forward and just reiterated the facts and explored the safety and planning aspects.   SP was next to give her evidence and gave a very strong but measured, honest but impassioned and inspiring statement prompted by Owen’s questions.  Standout elements were: ‘I understand that the action was outrageous but the government’s inaction is outrageous so we have to be outrageous ourselves; ‘it is all of our responsibility to act’; ‘I was called by god to protect his creation’; I feel that 75 minutes or DLR disruption is proportionate to what is happening and its effects on people now and in the future’; ‘you in the jury will remember the panic over toilet paper, imagine what the panic will be when there is no food. She also focussed on Africa and why people were forced to leave their homes already and become immigrants.  The jury were riveted by her statements which were very strong. She also talked about the planning and safety of the protestors and passengers.  The prosecution had no questions but the Judge later referred to her statement on proportionality.

The Judge let the jury go at 3.30.  He told them that he expected that the jury would be considering the verdict over lunch tomorrow, indication that he expects a verdict during the afternoon.   He then took up legal questions focusing on the article 5 rights of the people stuck on the train behind and how their liberty had been restricted and the balance of proportionality between their rights and the right to protest of the defendants, in relation to SP’s statement.  He questioned whether Ziegler was admissible in relation to his direction to the jury. Owen made a strong argument for the relevance of Ziegler and proportionality.  The Judge seemed to agree but said he would return to the legal issues in the morning.  PK will give his witness statement in the morning ending the defence. The trial is likely to resume at 10.30, after the Judge has dealt with another matter unrelated to the case.


The day started with the judge opening the case with issues to the previous days Mail Plus article which was mostly about the Canning town incident and not the current case in hand. The issue was that the mail had put an article re the current case and what they had done was they had placed pictures of the Canning Town incident. Defence said that if the jury had seen this it may affect the case and they would need to be given a serious direction. The judge and the lawyers had decided that they would not discharge the jury and continue on with the case and continue with the evidence that had not been heard. The judge was worried about the imprecations of the Mail Plus & Metro articles. The judge stated that they had a case to report the issue to the attorney general as this issue may prejudice the case and may not be fair on the defendants or the trial as the judge said that jury could have seen this. He stated that there was 3 things that he needed to consider: the case in the Stratford station,  Canning town incident which is due to be heard at the end of the month and this current case. This took over 1 ½ hr. to discuss. During this time the mail had responded to the email apparently the judge had sent to the mail re the issues of the photos, the apologised and said that they photos had been replaced with the ones of the defendants.

The jury were then called back into the court and the case continued. The judge went through the key 8 points which were discussed on day 2 & 3 to see if they were ok with them.

The final defendant PK started to give evidence. PK had glued himself to the DLR train on 19-10-19.  He had chosen this action because the ladder failed to deploy and was too dangerous, plus he had done this for his grandchildren. He has 4 grandchildren and he is doing this for their future because of the way this world is heading towards its extinction.  PK made an amazing and emotional statement. During the evidence he stated that he was 85 yrs. old and due to be 86 in the next few weeks. Plus he was motivated to do this actions by 2 things: The poor countries who have to deal with this as a result of the richer countries, and the 2nd was his faith and Christianity.

He then went on to say about how he was involved with planning stages and the reason for which they had chosen the station cause of the openness of the station and close to the economic centre of the city. Plus as it was in the open it would be more safe and the no of people on the platforms too. Plus he also mentioned about the support team that was with them and how they helped interact with the public and work with them. He did stress had there been any emergency issues he would have happily removed his hand with force from the glue to allow this to pass.

PK then went onto give his work history and how he used to be a lecturer and during his work he worked closely with people from south America especially Berta Cáceres from Honduras. She was winner of golden award in 2015 to which she had written a special speech in which she was thanking PK. About 11 months after the awards she was murdered. He mentioned that the amazon at one point was the lungs  of the planet  and  as a result  of  what is happening in the world they are now adding to the climate issues. He did mention that he was happy with the positive justice here in the UK as many places in the world didn’t have this luxury.

CPS didn’t have anything to ask PK and then it went onto the closing submissions. Before the submissions started the judge addressed the jury and outlined the issues re the media impact and not to look  at anything else  but the evidence  that they  have physically heard in the court and ignore everything else especially the paper articles they may have seen.

The Judge summed up all the evidence and directed the jury that it was up to them to decide on proportionality, weighing up the rights of the defendants to protest about one of the most important issues of our time and the rights of the general public to go about their lawful business.

The day ended on the jury being told to start to make the deliberations tomorrow.


The jury had spent around 30 minutes deliberating on the previous day and spent another hour to find the defendants Not Guilty.