Four Just Stop Oil supporters were acquitted of willful obstruction of the highway on Monday 8 January, as the Judge declared they had a lawful excuse for their actions. Meanwhile, another case against Just Stop Oil supporters has been cancelled due to a lack of a primary witness.
Judge agrees with Just Stop Oil and acquits activists
Miranda Forward, Dave Boden, Chris Hardy, and Annotony Cottam appeared before District Judge Lloyd at Stratford Magistrates court. The four Just Stop Oil supporters peacefully blocked roads into Parliament Square with 60 others on the 4 October 2022. Their actions were part of a month of continuous action to ‘Occupy Westminster’ in order to demand that the government call a halt to all new fossil fuel licenses and consents.
The prosecution was relying on helicopter footage of Parliament Square from the day in question, however, finding no evidence of ‘significant disruption’, Judge Lloyd delivered a not-guilty verdict.
The court heard the supporters of Just Stop Oil argue that blocking the roads to Parliament Square was proportionate under articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights – the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association. Judge Lloyd agreed that there was a lawful excuse for their actions, addressing the defendants directly she said that their motivations “could not be more important”.
One of those acquitted yesterday, Boden, said:
For the sake of future generations, other animals and for our life-support systems, I felt I had no other choice but to act in face of climate breakdown, given that our government acts in defiance of all science and reason.
‘Politics is failing us – arrest the real criminals in government’
A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said:
Instead of prosecuting grandmothers, students and doctors, the courts and police should focus on the breakdown of ordered society that is a guaranteed side effect of more oil extraction. It is a waste of public money, police time, court time and our time. Of Just Stop Oil supporters arrested, less than 50% have ended up in a conviction.
Politics is failing us, it is time to arrest the real criminals in Government, who are planning the deaths of countless millions for the sake of profiting the richest corporations.
These acquittals come as a case against supporters of Just Stop Oil was discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Supporters of Just Stop Oil were expected to appear at City of London Magistrates court on Tuesday 9 January, charged with breaching section 12 of the Public Order Act after marching peacefully in Parliament square on 19 July 2023. They were joined by 160 supporters of Just Stop Oil marching across London in resistance against new oil and gas.
They were informed that the trial would not go ahead as the chief inspector due to testify against the supporters of Just Stop Oil was on holiday.
Just Stop Oil supporters are refusing to allow the breakdown of ordered society and a collapse of the rule of law as a result of the selfish actions of a few. The people of the UK have had enough of the corruption and lies of the people leading the country off a very steep cliff. Just Stop Oil is calling on everyone to step into civil resistance in order to save our communities from the worst of climate breakdown. It is not a case of ‘if’ we will win, but ‘when’.
Featured image via Just Stop Oil