A further group of anti-fracking campaigners appeared in Crawley Magistrates Court this morning, charged following protests outside the Cuadrilla exploration site at Balcombe. The case against one campaigner was withdrawn by the Crown Prosecution Service. The cases against 11 others were adjourned until October 16th 2013, when they will be reviewed by a district judge.
The campaigners were charged with a range of offences allegedly committed during September this year. All were granted unconditional bail. Matthew Franklin, 22, of Oxford, denied wilfully obstructing the highway at Balcombe on September 23rd. Joel Hope, 28, and Garry Henesy, 36, both of no fixed address, denied the same charge on September 25th.
Maria Sanders, 25, of Stevenage, and Daniel White, 19, and Triston Woodwards, 30, both of no fixed address, denied obstructing a constable in the execution of his duty at Balcombe on September 12th. Andrew Costa, 43, of Sheffield, and M Elliott, 25, and Rowan McAllan, 33, both of no fixed address, all denied the same charge on September 26th.
The case of obstructing the highway against Andrew Edwards, 28, of Oxford, was withdrawn.
Two cases were adjourned for representatives to make an application to the crown before pleas were recorded. These cases relate to protests outside the Balcombe site on September 23rd. May Mackeith, 28, of no fixed address, is charged with assaulting a constable, obstructing a constable and obstructing the highway. Hannah Smith, 30, of no fixed address, is charged with obstructing a constable and obstructing the highway.
The Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, had been expected to appear in court today, following an earlier statement from the Crown Prosecution Service. Dr Lucas is now due to appear next week, on October 16th, when she will face one count of breaching Section 14 of the Public Order Act and one count of willful obstruction of the highway. Both offences are alleged to have taken place on August 19th 2013. Other campaigners arrested on the same day as Dr Lucas will also appear in court on October 16th.