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..