Just Stop Oil on trial twice in a week over protests and actions

  • Post last modified:May 13, 2024
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Two Just Stop Oil supporters were found guilty of damaging a snooker table, while another three are currently on trial for marching for 20 minutes. If you thought the law was an ass before – well, be prepared to be shocked.

GUILTY… of throwing powder on a snooker table

First, and two Just Stop Oil supporters have been found guilty of causing criminal damage/attempting to cause criminal damage. It was over their disruption of the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre last April.

They interrupted the championship to call on the government to stop all new UK fossil fuel projects and to encourage UK sporting institutions to join the fight against the government’s genocidal fossil fuel policies.

On 17 April 2023, during a first-round match at the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, Eddie climbed onto a snooker table and threw orange powder paint, disrupting the match. Margaret also attempted to carry out the action on another table but was intercepted by referee Olivier Marteel before she could begin.

The pair, who earlier entered pleas of not guilty, were granted unconditional bail by District Judge Daniel Curtis in January.

Just Stop Oil: this is a ‘fucking catastrophe’

Before the trial, Eddie Whittingham and Margaret Reid shared their thoughts.

Whittingham, found guilty of causing criminal damage, said:

It doesn’t matter what they do to us. They can arrest us, they can stick us in prison. But the world’s leading scientists have just said that we’re almost certainly going over 2.5C of global warming. This is a fucking catastrophe. Get on the streets and join us this summer as we take action at airports.

Margaret Reid, found guilty of attempting to cause criminal damage, expressed her unwavering resolve, stating:

I find it really daunting to face up to these massive institutions of power, but I will not be intimidated by whatever the justice system throws at me. Whatever the sentence is does not matter to me. What matters to me is stopping new oil and gas so we can prevent millions of deaths, the collapse of society, and the loss of everything we love.

If we don’t stop the exploitation of new fossil fuels, then billions of people will face starvation, disease, and death. Earlier this week, a newspaper article quoted many of the world’s most respected climate scientists who were in utter despair over what more they could possibly do to provoke climate action from governments. I have far less power and influence than those scientists, but I won’t give up.

A judge will sentence them on 10 July.

On trial for marching

Meanwhile, three Just Stop Oil supporters are still trial in a landmark case. They are the first to be prosecuted under Section 7 of the controversial new Public Order Act. The three took part in a twenty minute march, demanding the UK government commit to ending all licences and consents for new oil, gas and coal projects.

Phoebe Plummer, Chiara Sarti and Daniel Hall have appeared from 8 May before Judge Hehir at Southwark Crown Court, in a trial that is expected to last five days.

The trial is the first ever for breach of Section 7 of the Public Order Act 2023, which covers acts “which prevent or significantly delay the operation of key infrastructure, including airports, railways, printing presses, and oil and gas infrastructure”. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both.

The three took action on 15 November 2023, marching for less than twenty minutes along Cromwell Road in London. Following their arrest for peacefully marching, Phoebe Plummer was imprisoned, without trial, for 18 days, whilst Chiara Sarti was imprisoned for 19 days, without trial.

Just Stop Oil: the law is an ass

Speaking before the proceedings, Phoebe said:

I can’t really believe this trial is even happening. I was on a march for less than 20 minutes, which I have already spent 2 1/2 weeks in prison for, and now over a week of judges, lawyers and a jury’s time has to be wasted to decide if that’s a crime.

Under Draconian new protest laws I stand on trial after spending under 20 minutes on a march. I’m terrified about the rapid erosion of our right to speak out about what is happening and what measures the government will take to silence people sounding the alarm bells on the climate crisis in order to protect corporate profits.

Chiara Sarti, a PhD student from Cambridge, also spoke before trial:

We are on trial for daring to walk down a road for less than 20 minutes. They have already put us in prison over this for two weeks, using laws written by the Policy Exchange and bought for by big oil. We got to watch the lives of our friends in Uganda being sacrificed for the profits of oil barons at COP28 from the prison TV.

Featured image via Just Stop Oil

Source link