25th March 2014
The judge at the trial of Caroline Lucas and four other anti-fracking campaigners ruled this morning that the police did not have to release extra evidence that might help the defence case.
Miss Lucas, along with Ruth Potts, Ruth Jarman, Sheila Menon and Josef Dobraszczyk, are accused of failing to comply with a condition imposed by the then deputy chief constable of Sussex under Section 14 of the Public Order Act. They are also accused of obstructing the highway. All five deny all the charges.
Yesterday, the court heard how DCC Giles York imposed a designated protest area outside Cuadrilla’s oil exploration site at Balcombe. It was in force from August 16-21, during the period of the Reclaim the Power Camp nearby. The prosecution alleges that Miss Lucas and the other anti-fracking campaigners failed to comply with this order on August 19th. DCC York’s decision to impose the protest area was based on a briefing by Superintendent Jane Derrick, one of the senior officers running the policing operation at Balcombe.
At the start of the court session this morning, the prosecution served an additional statement by Superintendent Derrick. In it she referred to legal advice and intelligence which she used in her briefing to DCC York.
Tom Wainwright, for Miss Lucas and Miss Potts, said the specific legal advice and intelligence should be disclosed if the Superintendent used it in her briefing to the DCC York. Addressing District Judge Tim Pattinson, Mr Wainwright said: “I am asking you to make a ruling. There is material that might help the defence case and undermine the prosecution case.”
But DJ Pattinson said the information was irrelevant to the case. He added: “If I am wrong about that, and I have not fully considered this, there may be issues of privilege and public interest immunity.”