Judge slams Barclays’ conduct as a ‘disgrace’ during trial of two XR activists who smashed branch windows

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A King’s Lynn judge has branded Barclays a disgrace after it failed to give requested evidence to the court during the trail of two Norfolk Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists. Clearly, the judge was somewhat sympathetic to the defendants’ cause – as while the jury found them guilty, he said he wasn’t going to send them to jail.

Barclays: killing the planet

Green Party councillor Amanda Fox and her fellow XR protester Jennifer Parkhouse are both seasoned activists. Parkhouse said she’d spent “years… being a conventional campaigner, going to meetings and signing petitions”, and that when she attended COP6 in 2000, the:

very same messages on placards against fossil fuel extraction [I] held then are still relevant to COP28.

However, both women said they had become frustrated that Barclays was still getting away with fossil fuel financing (to the tune of $150bn since 2015) – despite their and XR’s actions. Parkhouse told the court that:

conventional means of protests have failed to attract sufficiently widespread attention; the media are only interested in disruptive protest.

And boy, does Barclays need a lot of disruptive protest. As the Canary previously wrote, we have documented Barclays’:

many crimes against people and planet. From its support for fracking, to oil pipelines, via investing in union-busting companies, and the not-small matter of its former boss’s ties to child trafficker Jeffrey Epstein – Barclays is one of the most notorious corporations on the planet.

Read on...

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So, Fox and Parkhouse decided to do something attention-grabbing about Barclays – namely smashing the windows of a local branch, and then waiting for cops to arrest them.

XR: ‘carefully’ smashing up a bank

XR said in a press release that:

On 13 April 2021 at 7.10am, when the building could be expected to be empty, Jennifer Parkhouse and Amanda Fox carefully cracked windows at Barclays and then sat down to wait to be arrested. The pair were wearing green and purple in tribute to the suffragettes who took direct action to campaign for women’s right to vote.

Cops arrested them. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) charged them with criminal damage. Both women pleaded not guilty. So, their case went to trial (after twice being adjourned) on Wednesday 2 August.

Supporters of the women came out in force at both the court and local branches of Barclays:

Supporters at King's Lynn Crown Court XR

Barclays Red Lion Street Norwich XR King's Lynn

Interestingly, XR also noted that during the trial:

One of the jurors wrote to the judge indicating that they had felt intimidated by the behaviour of other jurors and did not feel able to do their jury duty in line with their oath. The court investigated possible impropriety in the jury room and the defence asked for the jury to be dismissed, however the judge found no cause for dismissal.

In her defence, Fox told the court that if staff and shareholders at Barclays knew just how complicit the bank was in the climate crisis:

as presumably rational and moral humans, they would have approved [her] actions aimed at bringing greater attention to the harms being caused.

Whether or not Barclays’ shareholders are “moral humans” is debatable. However, what’s not so debatable is Barclays’ conduct during the trial.

Even a judge in King’s Lynn gets it – so why don’t Barclays?

Fox noted that:

For two years and four months Barclays have been asked to disclose the cost of replacing a pane of glass. They were asked by judges and by a jury. They refused to disclose this information. Ultimately the cost of a pane of glass does not equal the value of a human life.

The judge David Farrell called Barclays’ behavior a disgrace over this. Then, after two days of evidence, XR said in a press release that:

The trial was adjourned last Friday after the jury failed to reach a majority (10-1) decision.

Farrell instructed them to deliberate further. On Tuesday 9 August, the jury delivered a guilty verdict. However, Farrell said he would not be sending the two women to prison. The Eastern Daily Press reported that he adjourned sentencing until 3 November, and:

said he was minded to make them subject to community punishments.

So, Fox and Parkhouse achieved their goal of increasing the awareness around this most toxic of bank’s unholy conduct, even to the point where a judge appeared modestly sympathetic – no mean feat.

Featured image and additional images via Extinction Rebellion

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  • Show Comments
    1. Protests – disruptive or otherwise – are water off a duck’s back for corporate entities such as Barclay’s or the energy firms. We, the working class, must take them over and make them work for us and for the future of the natural world. Nothing else will do it.

    2. It would seem that the committing of a criminal offence verdict has allowed the defendants the right to present evidence of moral justification for their actions.
      With regard to those charged with intent to commit such actions against Elbit, the Israeli Apartheid Arms Manufacturer this has been denied obviously under instructions from the Apartheid supporting Government whose position has been re-enforced by Starmer’s silent support and whipped Abstentions to relevant Government Legislation.

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