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.