Four climate activists were found guilty and fined this morning over a protest at Barclays in Brighton last year.
The protestors, Susan Williams, 68, John Kennedy, 44, Nicola Harries, 68, and Ian Macintyre, 63, chained themselves to the railings of the Barclays branch in North Street, Brighton, on 14 November last year.
At Brighton Magistrates court, they were found guilty of obstructing or disrupting a person engaged in a lawful activity, because customers were obstructed from the front entrance of the bank.
District Judge Tessa Szagun told the court that although the defendants accepted they chained themselves to the rail and displayed a sign saying there was “business as usual”, they clearly had the intention to cause disruption.
She said that if the defendants had only hoped to present “a dramatic piece of theatre” they would have continued their demonstration on the street once being asked to move by police.
Judge Szagun called their protest a “conscious and deliberate decision as being the most effective way of carrying out the protest and and drawing attention to the cause.
She said: “Whilst the protestors did not make further efforts to block those who insisted on doing so, it is clear that they did not intend to provide them with clear passage and easy passage through this entrance.
“Their intention was by their action to dissuade them from entering.
“I found the intention of the protestors ton be deliberate and planned as part of a day of action of Extinction Rebellion – as such their culpability is within the highest level.
“I find each defendant guilty for this offence.”
The defence counsel, Jenna Dolan, argued for a conditional discharge, and said all the defendants were of good character.
Earlier in the trial, body-worn video camera footage from Sergeant Mark Redbourne, who had been at the two-hour protest, showed a sign featuring the Barclays’ logo in red, signifying “blood on the hands of Barclay’s Bank”.
There are no specific guidelines for sentencing this type of offence, and each defendant was fined according to their income, and was ordered to pay a victim surcharge as well as the court costs of the trial.
Williams, of Prestonville Road received a fine of £276, Kennedy, of Hanover Terrace received a fine of £460, Harries, of Preston Park Avenue received a fine of £440 and Macintyre, of Belgrave Street received a fine of £200.
Court costs of £2000 were to be split equally between the four.