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Balcombe anti-fracking case continues after judge rules there is a case to answer

The judge at the trial of Simon Welsh, the poet arrested while singing at the Balcombe anti-fracking protests, has ruled there is a case to answer and the hearing should continue.

Mr Welsh, 34, of High Street, Balcombe, denies he failed to comply with a condition on protesting that had been imposed by the Chief Constable of Sussex. The condition, set out in a notice under Section 14 of the Public Order Act, required people protesting outside the Cuadrilla oil exploration site to use a designated area. This was a 30m area of grass verge on the opposite of the road from the site entrance.

The prosecution had said Mr Welsh was arrested on September 10th in front of the site gate, about 15 minutes after a Chief Inspector used a loud hailer to read the Section 14 notice to the crowd. Mr Welsh was leading a group of people singing the Balcombe Anthem, a protest song he wrote to the tune of Jerusalem.

At the end of the prosecution case yesterday, defence barrister, Tom Wainwright, argued that the wording of the notice was flawed and this made it unlawful. He said there was no case to answer and the trial should be stopped. But District Judge Peter Crabtree, sitting at Brighton Magistrates Court, disagreed and today he ordered that the court should hear the defence evidence.

The case continues and Mr Welsh is due to give evidence this afternoon.

Earlier evidence

Afternoon 19th March

Morning 19th March

Afternoon 18th March

Morning 18th March

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