The trial of a teenager charged following a protest outside Cuadrilla’s exploration site at Balcombe was unable to go ahead this morning (November 6th 2013) because the wrong sort of magistrates were in court.
Only one of the three magistrates on the bench at Brighton was permitted to hear youth cases so the trial had to be adjourned. It will now go before a district judge at Brighton Magistrates Court on January 3rd next year.
This would have been the first of more than 20 trials of Balcombe anti-fracking campaigners. The other trials will take place at courts in Brighton, Crawley and Horsham over the next six months.
In today’s case, the magistrates made an order under the Children and Young Person’s Act preventing publication of anything that would identify the teenager. He denied a charge, brought under trades union legislation, that on July 26th 2013 he watched or beset the house or other place where another person resides, works or carries on a business.
The court heard that the case against another teenager, charged with the same offence on the same day, had been discontinued. Charges arising from the Balcombe protests have also been dropped against at least seven other campaigners.
- Last month, eight campaigners were convicted after pleaded guilty to obstructing the highway outside Cuadrilla’s site at Balcombe. Seven received conditional discharges and one was fined £200.