No prosecutor for Barton Moss fracking protest trial is “inexcusable” – judge says

ManchesterMCA judge in Manchester said the failure of prosecutors to provide a barrister for an on-going case involving the IGas drilling site at Barton Moss was “inexcusable” and “unacceptable”.

More than 40 people are on trial on charges arising from protests at Barton Moss in Irlam during spring 2014. They have pleaded not guilty and argued that their actions were justified because IGas had acted unlawfully.

A previous hearing of the case in March this year heard evidence that a field next to the Barton Moss site had “dangerous levels of contamination”. But an expert witness said it was not possible to identify the source of the contamination without more tests.

The results of those tests were due to be presented this morning. But a stand-in prosecution barrister, Peter Cadwallader, asked for an adjournment until tomorrow. He said the Crown Prosecution Service had not formally instructed a barrister to present the case today.

District Judge James Prowse refused the delay and said the case would begin at 2pm this afternoon.

He said: “This has been in the diary for months. It was set back in April. It is up to the CPS to sort this out”.

“It is inexcusable”, he said. “This is not acceptable. If this case is adjourned I can see it disappearing into December”.

DJ Prowse, who is due to retire in October, said the issues of the case were already “horrendously stale”.

“The CPS has caused this problem. The CPS will have to make available one of their advocates”.

“There are people [in the CPS] who are dealing with it who are very familiar with the issues”.

Richard Brigden, defending some of the people on trial, questioned “the sense of continuing with the prosecution”.

DJ Prowse said he would “not be particularly sympathetic” if the CPS asked for another delay this afternoon.

The case is due to resume at 2pm.

6 replies »

  1. Although the failure to instruct a barrister will cause outrage and consternation particularly for the individuals facing a period of incarceration and career blighting criminal records, it is in reality very funny. Other communities around the world face the threat of death squads and do so willingly and disdain living their lives in anger and hatred. When asked how do they summon such courage they state simply “Resistance is life”. The deliberate delays are designed to upset and oppress and so create anger and hatred. Rather than fall for such obvious manipulation people instead can laugh at the fools who cannot recognise unstoppable change and the unquenchable thirst for true justice. Respect and love to the courageous 40.

    • Deliberate delays? Or just pure incompetence on the part of the CPS. CPS have form. Or is everything a conspiracy by the state to blight your protests.

    • The CPS couldn’t organise a tea party in a phone box, they’ve got a serious record of incompetence on court cases. Worse than the Marx Brothers for incompetence.

      My guess is that the trial will collapse, iGas are likely to be preventing test results being made public thus preventing a fair trial and no lawyer worth his her salt refusing to take a humilating defeat and serious criticism from the District Judge.

      • I would suggest that organising a tea party in a phone box is actually very difficult – and therefore obviously not something that the CPS should even attempt.

      • It could be incompetence on the part of the CPS that has led to no barrister being instructed in a case involving more than 40 defendants in relation to a politically and financially powerful industry. Alternatively it could be that no barrister was instructed as a result of pressure from the politically and financially powerful industry. Since the outcome of failing to instruct a barrister serves the purposes of the politically and financially powerful industry it is more likely to have occurred as a result of pressure from the industry. Note also that the judge involved in the case will be retiring in a couple of months. Please feel free to have a level of decency and honour to admit that the failure to instruct a barrister was a corrupt act since that is the most likely reason for it occurring.

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