Barton Moss anti-fracking protest case adjourned again

A trial of more than 40 people arising from anti-fracking protests at the Barton Moss gas drilling site has been adjourned for the second day because no prosecutor was available.

The case at Manchester Magistrates Court had been due to hear scientific evidence this week about contamination near the site operated by IGas. Yesterday’s hearing was adjourned because no prosecuting barrister was available. No-one from the prosecution could take the case today either.

District Judge James Prowse adjourned the trial until Tuesday 4th August 2015.

The court heard that the prosecution’s expert witness, Sarah Scott, of the Environment Agency, had said she could not attend the hearing on Tuesday. A stand-in prosecutor, Rob Hall, asked for her to be issued with a summons. If she does not turn up she could be arrested.

More than 40 people are on trial on charges including obstruction and aggravated trespass arising from protests at Barton Moss in Irlam during spring 2014. They have all 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 for the defence, environmental scientist, Dr Aidan Foley, said it was not possible to identify the source of the contamination without more tests.

The results of new tests by Dr Foley along with Miss Scott’s evidence are now due to be heard on Tuesday 4th August..

Report of March 2015 hearing

2 replies »

  1. what a shambles, seriously if the Defence counsel should be calling for the case to be kicked out due to the unnecessary delays and adjournments, this is not justice nor fair.
    Someone or some organisation has something they don’t want to show the defence or the court, inevitably the case is going to hinge on whether independent scientific evidence was able to be gathered from the iGas drill site.

    Are iGas still refusing to allow the defence access to their site??

  2. It would be interesting to review how this judge has treated other defendants who forgot to instruct a barrister.

    This case could proceed without a prosecuting barrister. In some cases when a prosecuting barrister has shied away from being eviscerated by the defence’s Queen’s Counsel the prosecution has left it to a police sergeant to present its side, poor soul.

    From the legal profession’s point of view in this case no harm has been done. The judge is being paid, the defence counsel and solicitors are being paid and the Crown Prosecution solicitors and stand in prosecutor are being paid.

    The profession is being served, justice is not.

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