Anti-fracking campaigner, Tina Rothery, has avoided a two-week jail sentence, following a long-running dispute with the shale gas firm, Cuadrilla.
A judge at Preston Combined Court ruled this afternoon that Ms Rothery should not go to prison for contempt of court and discharged the order against her.
Supporters in and outside the court cheered the outcome.
The private hearing was listed as Cuadrilla V Rothery, despite a claim yesterday by the company’s lawyers, Eversheds, that the case had nothing to do with the company. A lawyer from Eversheds was representing the company during the hearing, most of which was in private.
Ms Rothery had been found in contempt of court earlier this year when she refused to give details of her financial circumstances. She had been ordered to pay costs of more than £55,000 incurred by Cuadrilla, in a legal dispute dating back to 2014.
She was sentenced to two weeks in Styal Prison in Cheshire but today she had a final chance to complete a financial questionnaire.
At a private hearing this afternoon, the judge ruled that she should not go to jail.
The case is linked to a long-running dispute about legal costs.
In 2014, Cuadrilla sought an injunction at the High Court preventing access by groups and individuals to sites in the Fylde area of Lancashire.
Ms Rothery, the only named defendant, asked for an adjournment. When the injunction case returned to court she offered no evidence and legal costs of more than £50,000 were awarded against her.
She later offered to pay £500 but Cuadrilla rejected this and since then costs have been increasing at a rate of 8%.
Yesterday, Eversheds, Cuadrilla’s lawyers, said today’s hearing was about the contempt of court finding. But the case was described as “Cuadrilla versus Rothery (order/questioning)”.
More details soon