Cheering crowds at court as anti-fracking campaigner, Tina Rothery, avoids jail: full report



Anti-fracking campaigner, Tina Rothery, said this afternoon she was delighted to avoid a two-week jail term in Styal Prison.

A judge at Preston Combined Court discharged a ruling that she was in contempt of court and said she would not be sent to jail.

There were cheers inside and outside the court as the outcome became known.

The private hearing, lasting nearly two hours, followed a long-running legal dispute between Ms Rothery and the shale gas, company, Cuadrilla.

The company and several landowners had previously won more than £55,000 legal costs against Ms Rothery in a case dating back to 2014. She was judged to be in contempt of court when she refused at a hearing this summer to complete a questionnaire about her finances.

This afternoon, the company said it would not pursue her for the money.

Ms Rothery said afterwards:

“When Cuadrilla agreed they would not pursue me for the costs unless my circumstances significantly changed then I swore on oath that the financial information I had previously given was the truth”.

Ms Rothery told a crowd of around 300 people gathered outside the court:

“I see this as a victory for truth. I see it as a victory for honesty because corporations have a lot of power and a lot of money.

“I will walk away from here and Cuadrilla will no longer pursue me for the costs.”

Yesterday, Cuadrilla’s lawyers told the media that the hearing was about the contempt of court ruling and that it had been organised by the court, not by the company.

But today’s case was listed as Cuadrilla V Rothery and a lawyer from Eversheds represented the company.

Ms Rothery told reporters:

“It was a private hearing and I can’t tell you everything that went on. But I think that I am allowed to say that the judge drew attention to that misleading statement. As the court made clear, Cuadrilla’s lawyers were in there. Cuadrilla have misled you.”

Cuadrilla said in a statement Ms Rothery could have avoided the threat of jail and said its barrister had been requested to attend by the court.

Long-running case

The case dates back to August 2014 when anti-fracking protesters, including Ms Rothery, occupied a field near one of Cuadrilla’s proposed fracking sites at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, near Blackpool.

Ms Rothery said today:

“I am really proud of what we did there. It alerted an elderly community to Cuadrilla’s proposals which they would not have known about otherwise.”

Cuadrilla and landowners sought an eviction order for the field and an injunction preventing trespass on sites across the Fylde.

Ms Rothery sought an adjournment to defend the injunction. When the case returned to court she gave no evidence and, as the only named defendant, a proportion of Cuadrilla’s costs were awarded against her.

She said today:

“The first time we were in court I could not match their solicitor.

“This time I had no solicitor and the judge allowed me to speak and to allow express my thoughts out loud. It was a different situation and I felt more in control.”

Asked what happened now, she said:

“Nothing changes for us. We will carry on as we always have.”

Asked if this was a victory for the anti-fracking movement, she replied:

“An anti-fracking victory looks like this country being left untouched.”

Cuadrilla response

Cuadrilla made a statement this afternoon:

“Having previously been found in contempt of Court, Ms Rothery has today attended Court and complied with the Court’s order to provide information as to her financial means, thus purging her contempt.

“She could have easily avoided this situation and avoided yet again wasting court time and taxpayers money.

“A barrister attended Court on behalf of the Judgment Creditors (Cuadrilla and the landowners) as the Court required him to do so.

“The outstanding costs were awarded against Ms Rothery in October 2014 for wasting court time by failing to submit a defence after asking for a time extension in order to do so, the debt will remain unpaid and we will not pursue costs whilst she clearly has no assets to make any payment.

“The position will be kept under review and revisited should Ms Rothery’s financial circumstances change.”

Asked by DrillOrDrop why the case was listed as Cuadrilla versus Tina Rothery, a spokesperson said:

“I do not know why it was listed as such – perhaps as the Contempt of Court issue was related to the original case in which Ms Rothery asked to become a named defendant.”

Green Party life-time membership

This afternoon, the Green Party granted Ms Rothery life-time membership for what it described as her bravery. She had stood for the party at the last general election in Tatton against the then Chancellor, George Osborne.

Joint party leader, Jonathan Bartley, told The Guardian:

“Today marks a great victory for everyone who believes in the right to peaceful protest and the fight against climate change.

“It would have been utterly unjust to jail Tina Rothery, who has shown exceptional courage protecting her community from the threat of fracking. It is an honour to give Tina lifetime Green party membership in recognition of her bravery in the fight to protect our planet.”


82 replies »

  1. Yes, the north sea is real John, but existing fields are depleting and whilst other reserves are still there they will be more expensive to extract. You are obviously within Queen Nics economics class, but the current maths. are against you.Why do you think investment is being cut back, companies are selling existing assets and Ineos invested hundreds of million £s to bring gas from USA? (That is shale gas competing with one of the UK’s largest established industries, is it not? What happens when Trump increases industrial output in USA, will their shale gas be available to Grangemouth then?) It could just be that some of those 375,000 strong workforce might welcome the job security that shale gas could provide. They certainly will not get a job making solar panels as most of them will continue to be made in China ie. we have exported the carbon emissions to China to allow us to feel greener!
    Quite simply, the worlds largest importer of oil no longer imports it. Production shows a massive over capacity, attempts at limiting production have failed dismally. Your economics will simply mean the UK would add a further large subsidy bill to the north sea, in addition to the huge subsidy it has wasted (would not call it investment) in alternative energy.
    Climate change is a gravy train completely out of any form of proper control and is supported by poor science and too many organisations and individuals that see it as a way to make an income and have a great time in Rio. PR stunts of getting ships trapped in ice in the Antartic as the wrong pole was picked really shows the stupidity which has spread through the whole issue. False advertising of “information” will not win the public for ever. Activists talk about Big Oil, and then quote “200 climate change scientists opinions” and do not see the conflict.

    Would be off to wash my hogs now, but can’t afford to heat the water!

    • I will pop an email over to BP and Statoil and tell them that someone called martin collyer has said they have it all wrong.

      They will probably pull out the North sea when they see what you have to say.

      When you next take a bath or shower using North sea gas powered hot water, save some of it for your hogs.

      Energy experts telling the Lords that North sea is cheaper by around 30% than UK shale

      More experts who know nothing.

      ‘Climate change is a gravy train completely out of any form of proper control and is supported by poor science’

      You do realise you are a voice in the wilderness with this

      Have you seen ‘Before the Flood’?

      If so you obviously don’t believe NASA, Obama, and the Pentagon know what they are talking about.

      They make it up you know. Keeps them in work apparently.

  2. Same Obama that said a trade deal between USA and EU should be completed by the end of 2016?? Shame he decided at the start of his time in office he was content for his legacy to be “the first black American President”. That’s all it will be, so I suppose you could say he has fulfilled that.
    BP-pretty expert in the Gulf of Mexico!
    Energy experts can cost UK shale gas? Pretty good going as none has been extracted yet. Think that is called speculation, and is certainly not good science.

    If you want to quote “experts”, perhaps you should include the following,

    £300bn largely wasted in the UK since 2008 on alternative energy.

    How much social care could that have afforded?

    The UK needs a sensible energy policy based upon security and true cost effectiveness, with proper account of the environment. Too many experts claiming flooding from global warming when it is clear that diches, drains and rivers are blocked from inadequate maintenance and new houses are being built with no gardens to absorb rainfall and many having to be piled to stop them sinking into the swamp that has been selected.

    Of course there is a level of climate change. There always has been, much of it nothing to do with mankind. Yes, it needs addressing, but the current attempts are spending huge amounts of money with very little impact apart from making certain organisations a very rich living.

  3. Some unexpected things happened under Obama. It’s only when you realise how much control the republicans wielded at congress and senate levels, and in the judiciary, that you realise how much/little power he could really exercise. They’ve been hammering nails into the Environmental Protection Agency for years now … and are likely to kill it off completely under Trump.

  4. That should have read.. ‘hammering nails into the coffin of’
    … wish we could edit our own typo’s (web admin take note! – it’s easy to allow contributors to edit their own content in WordPress)

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