7th April 2014
The acquittal of anti-fracking campaigners on Public Order Act charges vindicated their protest, one of its members said this morning.
Kim Turner, from Brighton, was speaking at the end of a five-and-half-day trial at Brighton Magistrates Court. Five campaigners were also acquitted of obstructing the highway.
The verdict “absolutely vindicated our actions”, she said. “This is a good result for all those defendants who were also found not guilty of obstructing the highway.”
The court had heard how the group took part in a sit-down protest near the main gate to Cuadrilla’s oil exploration site at Balcombe. Four members locked their arms together through pipes to form a square. The others sat inside or next to the square. The prosecution claimed the group ignored police requests to move to a designated protest area, imposed under Section 14 of the Public Order Act.
But the judge ruled the members may not have know where the protest area was. He also said he was unsure whether the action of the five who were not locked-on was excessive.
Miss Turner, a charity administrator, said: “We all stood together that day to express our human rights in a peaceful protest”.
“We were all there for the same reason: the urgent moral need to protest against fracking.” She described the process as a “dirty industry” that threatened to “industrialise at least 60 per cent of the British countryside”.
Miss Turner said fracking would lead to tens of thousands of wells, polluting air and water. She also said fracking would contribute to climate change. She referred to the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published last week, which warned that climate change threatened global food stocks and human security.