Shell trial - closing speech Sid Saunders

Members of the jury once again I am very grateful for your patience and attention.

I am the last of us to speak and as such I feel a sense of weight and responsibility to close up well.

I believe that we all operate within a higher natural universal law, that we feel in our being what is right or wrong, we feel it in our hearts, and in line with our conscience. To live well we must try to do the right thing. All ancient cultures religions and philosophies and indeed modern day psychology recognise this. These authorities state the truth that we all want to be truly deeply peacefully happy, For this to happen we have to feel good about ourselves, we desire to feel free from suffering, of physical pain and emotional pain, like guilt, shame or regret.

I seek to apply the higher natural universal laws in my day to day life, I do this especially when undertaking something of significance, to ensure that my actions are in alignment with my conscience. To ensure that I’m in right service and therefore aligned with the higher natural universal laws. In doing this before the Shell action, I considered the reaction of the people of Shell and concluded that they would welcome my action. For the people of Shell who are already aware of the impending end of everything they hold dear, their families, food and home securities, jobs and life as they know it. I believe they would want every assistance to enable as rapid as possible change in direction, away from ecocide and climate change. After all, I believe the door entrance inconvenience, and proportional costs of 3p are insignificant, in relationship to the value of our messages going viral on the world's media.

The people of Shell operating without knowing that they are causing harm I believe they would want to have their direct involvement stopped in the process of societal collapse, not only because it is their lives and futures being destroyed too, but also due to the crippling emotional traumas that they would for ever be feeling. The prosecution have alleged that I have lied in this belief, I have shown in all my evidence that I consistently act in line with my moral beliefs, indeed the judge acknowledges as such, saying that my good character supports my credibility, when I tell you that I believe that Shell would have given me permission to carry out this action.

As stated above and in my defence, we know we have to do the right thing in life, or in a moment, by acting in line with our conscience. I knew that I had to try as hard as I could to ask Shell to stop the everyday harm, the everyday death that Shell are responsible for, in the most powerful way that I could. Now I ask that you members of the jury, please act to do what you can do to help. Decades of campaigning, marching, petitioning have not resulted in governments heeding the science. This is not about my political philosophy, this is way beyond politics, this is about avoiding a collective catastrophe. I felt compelled to act, I had to act, to take collective action, the ‘legal avenues’ open to me had not worked, and history demonstrates that disruptive peaceful direct action would achieve results. As it so clearly has done in this case, by the declaration of climate emergency and the normalisation of ecocide as a concept like genocide.

What was once illegal is now legal, the conscientious objectors who refused to bear arms, who were imprisoned and shot in the first world war according to the law, resulted in the law being changed, indeed it was the precursor of the universal declaration of human rights. The Suffragettes who were imprisoned and ridiculed, ensured the law was changed to enable woman to vote, enabling women to take their place in civil society, indeed in this court today prosecuting me!!

So, members of the jury, I put it to you. When your grandchildren ask you: why didn’t your generation do more, to stop our planet being destroyed? What do you want to say? Or when people in fifty or a hundred years look back at us, like we look back at the Suffragettes, or at the people who resisted slavery, which side will they see as being the right side of this argument? And when history considers us, which side do would you like to be on? Members of the jury, at this moment of consequence, where we risk losing everything we cherish, when no one is coming to save us, please trust to your conscience as we have trusted to ours. I believe that I am not guilty, and I believe that my co-defendants are not guilty. We acted to save life, if you find us not guilty, you too will be acting with the same simple purpose.

Thank You