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Striking lawyers delay case of anti-fracking dog walker

7th March 2014

A man arrested at the Balcombe anti-fracking protests for walking his dog in front of a police escort has had his case adjourned again – this time because lawyers involved in the case were on strike.

Nick Ward made the 100 mile journey from his home in Cambridge to attend his hearing at Horsham Magistrates Court this afternoon. But when he got there, there were no barristers to argue the case and he was told to come back again in a fortnight.

This was the second hearing in Mr Ward’s trial. He is accused of obstructing the highway at Balcombe on September 9th last year and causing criminal damage at Crawley Police Station. He denies the charges.

His trial started on 2nd January, when the prosecution alleged Mr Ward caused an obstruction at the Balcombe anti-fracking protests by walking his dog in front of officers escorting a lorry into Cuadrilla’s oil exploration site. The court saw a video, lasting about three minutes, which showed the police escort, followed by Mr Ward being arrested and put in a police van. The court also heard that when Mr Ward was put in a cell at Crawley Police Station, he asked for a pencil and wrote anti-fracking slogans on the wall.

The first hearing ran out of time before Mr Ward could give evidence and was adjourned until this afternoon. It is understood, Mr Ward’s defence will use Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protect freedoms of expression and assembly.

District Judge Adrian Turner scheduled a third hearing at Horsham Magistrates Court for 10am on March 21st.

4 replies »

  1. Worth noting, Ruth, that in the abscence of both Prosecution and Defence barristers I was given the opportunity to state to District Judge Turner that I believe the Obstruction of the Highway charge should be dropped without recourse to Articles 10 and 11 given that I did not stop moving in the face of the police charge and unnecessary aggression on their part…and therefore with regard to the Criminal Damage charge, the writing in pencil on the Crawley Police cell wall ‘Fracking contaminates our most precious resource, H20, it is a crime against the natural world’ I should be commended not punished given the police have a duty to respond to information regarding intention to pollute on an industrial scale. Also given the excessive remorse I demonstrated in the recorded police interview and offer to save precious police time by washing the message from the cell wall. Police officers commended me for the polite way I handled this traumatic event and were pleased to accept a handwritten poem of Taoist origin also written during the hours I was locked in the cell. Pencil on paper.

    Thank you again for your admirably disinterested work. My next hearing was arranged for 21/3/2014 Horsham Magistrates Court 9.30 am. It was noted by the court solicitor Amanda that I was ‘brilliant’! And noted that I claim zero expenses despite considerable costs of travel and overnight arrangements… Apart from the Legal Aid minimum to Kellys of Brighton. I raise this anti-toxic fracking money from busking.

    • Thanks for your comment Nick – and I’m very sorry I missed your court appearance. I got to Horsham only to find that your case had been dealt with in the morning. I will be there on 21st though. Best wishes, Ruth

  2. That’s a relief Ruth…see you on 21st…9.30am for 10…maybe self representing ! With Samantha and Shahira’s blessing I hasten to add and with their brilliant prep and response to a Prosecution response to Defences ‘no case to answer’ which is full of holes ref what actually happened re video evidence and equally shot through with bad faith, in my opinion…so keeping a bready eye on DJ Turner who states he sees case as ‘cusp’ will be reassuring. He spoke kindly to me and remarked on my goid character and does, at least,listen just worry that he really has swallowed the gov and Cuadrilla deception that water supplies will be Not be polluted and that pads will not spread like rashes if ‘sweet spot’ is proven ‘productive’ to Cuadrilla investors. Horror stories daily from USA, as my FB friend Alerte Shiste sytematically records. Property values will slump and the policing costs and legal costs will continue to rise as anti high volume horizontal toxic hydraulic fracturing and, importantly, other forms of extreme fossil fuel drilling and extraction protectors become more and more determined to stop this rash dash for gas /oil …. Thanks again Ruth for your accuracy and diligence.

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