Caroline Lucas not guilty in fracking trial

Posted On 17 Apr 2014 at 2:22 pm
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Caroline Lucas has been found not guilty of wilful obstruction and a public order offence while she protested against fracking at Balcombe last summer.

Caroline Lucas leaves Brighton Magistrates' Court

Caroline Lucas leaves Brighton Magistrates’ Court

The Brighton Pavilion MP was standing trial for her part in a protest outside the site where Cuadrilla was undertaking exploratory drilling on Monday 19 August.

A large group gathered outside the court waiting to greet and cheer the Green MP.

The Spearhead

Speaking on the court steps, she said: “We’re very pleased that the court upheld our right to peacefully protest against fracking but the judgement is not a victory or cause for celebration.

“We will continue to campaign to end fracking and only celebrate when our world is on the path to a clean energy future.”

Her full statement has been published on the Brighton and Hove Green party website here. 

She said she was prepared to go to prison for protest, but admitted “that was never on the cards.”

Hove Green councillor Christopher Hawtree reports on Twitter that mothers on buses are holding their children up to see the crowd.

Green activist blogger Scrapper Duncan has published the full judgement on his blog here. 

It says that Ms Lucas was acquitted of the public order offence as police failed to prove she had requisite notice of the order made under Section 14 of the Public Order Act, which had directed protesters to assemble in a designated area.

Ms Lucas had told the court she had briefly scanned the order, found it incomprehensible, and then lost it when a banner was unfurled.

The prosecution also failed to prove that any actual obstruction of the highway had taken place, as opposed to the hypothetical obstruction of emergency vehicles.

Last summer, Ms Lucas linked arms with a group of protesters outside the site, four of whom also stood trial alongside her at Brighton Magistrates’ Court – Josef Dobraszczyk, 22, from Bristol; Ruth Jarman, 50, from Hook, Hampshire; Sheila Menon, 42, from north east London; and Ruth Potts, 39, from Totnes, Devon.

All five have been found not guilty of two charges,  wilful obstruction of a public highway and breaching an order under Section 14 of the Public Order Act which required protesters to use a designated protest area nearby.

Lucas told the court she “wanted to express solidarity” by protesting peacefully against the use of fossil fuels.

News of her acquittal is being greeted with jubilation by her supporters on Twitter.

 

 

 

  1. beth Reply

    Fantastic news!

  2. beth Reply

    Fantastic news!

  3. Andrew Reply

    Another example that the law is not fit for purpose. Take your child out of school it’s a fine. Go5 miles over a speed limit it’s a fine. Be an MP and course a public nuisance and nothing. Says it all about the laws of this country.

  4. Andrew Reply

    Another example that the law is not fit for purpose. Take your child out of school it’s a fine. Go5 miles over a speed limit it’s a fine. Be an MP and course a public nuisance and nothing. Says it all about the laws of this country.

  5. Pork And Beans Reply

    Terrible news, she clearly broke the law and her claim of mitigation is absolute nonsense.

    The wretched, incompetent and incapable Greens will be absolutely insufferable after this; they will no doubt claim that the verdict gives them some kind of validation.

    Not long before the Greens are kicked-out of Brighton

  6. Pork And Beans Reply

    Terrible news, she clearly broke the law and her claim of mitigation is absolute nonsense.

    The wretched, incompetent and incapable Greens will be absolutely insufferable after this; they will no doubt claim that the verdict gives them some kind of validation.

    Not long before the Greens are kicked-out of Brighton

  7. anon Reply

    why was she not sent down? she deserves a custodial sentence for what others have been banged up for.. or is it the fact that a person cannot be charged or sentenced on grounds that they were protesting against something that actually wasn’t happening or to happen.. ie there was never any or to be any ‘fracking’ at the site where she was witnessed (and arrested!)to have committed a crime. Our justice system is pathetic and politicians seem to have it one way wheras the public (not including the others cleared on account of association with the part time representative of some brighton ward)

  8. anon Reply

    why was she not sent down? she deserves a custodial sentence for what others have been banged up for.. or is it the fact that a person cannot be charged or sentenced on grounds that they were protesting against something that actually wasn’t happening or to happen.. ie there was never any or to be any ‘fracking’ at the site where she was witnessed (and arrested!)to have committed a crime. Our justice system is pathetic and politicians seem to have it one way wheras the public (not including the others cleared on account of association with the part time representative of some brighton ward)

  9. Harry Reply

    I think this case did a lot to draw attention to the absurdities of British politics. Perhaps people will start to wake up

  10. Harry Reply

    I think this case did a lot to draw attention to the absurdities of British politics. Perhaps people will start to wake up

  11. Geoff Reply

    Great news, the right to peaceful protest is being eroded so let’s hope this ruling helps stop the rot.

  12. Geoff Reply

    Great news, the right to peaceful protest is being eroded so let’s hope this ruling helps stop the rot.

  13. Sahajatara Reply

    Great news , Caroline and the others were on the side of good .

    Myself and other members of the Brighton Buddhist Centre wholeheartedly support her , as do many of our interfaith friends .

    Renewables are the answer and the greens are the only party who will support this .

  14. Sahajatara Reply

    Great news , Caroline and the others were on the side of good .

    Myself and other members of the Brighton Buddhist Centre wholeheartedly support her , as do many of our interfaith friends .

    Renewables are the answer and the greens are the only party who will support this .

  15. Holly Dexter Reply

    Yes Sahajatara, the Greens care so deeply for the environment that Caroline Lucas, Green MEP Jean Lambert and Welsh Green leader Pippa Bartolotti have all publicly stated that if the Greens ever came to power, they would abolish all UK borders.

    Uncontrolled, mass-immigration is extremely detrimental to the environment, and the Greens stating that they would abolish border controls shows what an absolute joke the party is.

  16. Holly Dexter Reply

    Yes Sahajatara, the Greens care so deeply for the environment that Caroline Lucas, Green MEP Jean Lambert and Welsh Green leader Pippa Bartolotti have all publicly stated that if the Greens ever came to power, they would abolish all UK borders.

    Uncontrolled, mass-immigration is extremely detrimental to the environment, and the Greens stating that they would abolish border controls shows what an absolute joke the party is.

  17. Andrea Ciaffaglione Reply

    A great news. Thanks
    Carolina and the others for fighting for all of us.

  18. Andrea Ciaffaglione Reply

    A great news. Thanks
    Carolina and the others for fighting for all of us.

  19. George Coombs Reply

    I particularly agree with Harry’s comments, people do need to wake up

  20. George Coombs Reply

    I particularly agree with Harry’s comments, people do need to wake up

  21. Huey Freeman Reply

    A dreadful woman full of her own self-importance.

    Luckily, she and the rest of her Green party loons will soon be out of office

  22. Huey Freeman Reply

    A dreadful woman full of her own self-importance.

    Luckily, she and the rest of her Green party loons will soon be out of office

  23. ian killmister Reply

    Wast of public money . CPS did this as a stunt ! Even if she was found guilty , there would be a minimal fine . Worse thing is , it has ” raised ” her profile in this issue . However , WE know that it is a swansong . All your comments are great but MAKE SURE you dont vote for the Greens here in Brighton & Hove . Please . Herendethelesson . luv Lemme

  24. ian killmister Reply

    Wast of public money . CPS did this as a stunt ! Even if she was found guilty , there would be a minimal fine . Worse thing is , it has ” raised ” her profile in this issue . However , WE know that it is a swansong . All your comments are great but MAKE SURE you dont vote for the Greens here in Brighton & Hove . Please . Herendethelesson . luv Lemme

  25. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    I was there, and the support for Caroline Lucas by passers-by on Edward Street was clear.

  26. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    I was there, and the support for Caroline Lucas by passers-by on Edward Street was clear.

  27. Brighton Born & Bred Reply

    It was far from a peaceful protest. Many of them broke the law including her and as a MP she should be ashamed of herself. What example was she setting. Please don’t let them get voted in again.

  28. Brighton Born & Bred Reply

    It was far from a peaceful protest. Many of them broke the law including her and as a MP she should be ashamed of herself. What example was she setting. Please don’t let them get voted in again.

  29. stew Reply

    can’t wait to vote this waste of space out next year. she has done nothing for the city other than give it the reputation that we are all bongo players who don’t think things through logically, the sort that want to give our money to places russia rather than develop our own technologies and jobs.

  30. stew Reply

    can’t wait to vote this waste of space out next year. she has done nothing for the city other than give it the reputation that we are all bongo players who don’t think things through logically, the sort that want to give our money to places russia rather than develop our own technologies and jobs.

  31. Harry Reply

    When it becomes illegal to oppose the destruction of our environment then I hope that more of us will become law-breakers. They can’t imprison all of us

  32. Harry Reply

    When it becomes illegal to oppose the destruction of our environment then I hope that more of us will become law-breakers. They can’t imprison all of us

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