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.”


83 replies »

  1. Well done Tina, well done supporters and campaigners, excellent news for the anti fracking movement and devastating news for Cuadrilla.

    • A great victory for Tina. She declared that she was poor and was able to walk away despite her guilt and contempt of court. All anti-frackers should aspire to be without any wealth at all so that they can take advantage of the system as Tina did. What a shining point of inspiration!

      • Sting does it?
        Better be careful peeny, there are bigger and better toys being thrown out of the corporate pram!
        Ooops there goes the stewed bananas, what a mess!

        • You got me Phil! Yes, it is painful for me to have to acknowledge that the Nana is poor. What is even funnier than your suggestion that this somehow impacts me, is that as someone who lives in fuel poverty, Rothery would benefit from shale gas exploitation. She’s just too ignorant to understand this! LOL ;o)

              • Not too old for a smacked botty you know! Nana not amused! Neither funny nor clever, it’ll be tears before bed time, just you wait and see?

                • Hey Phil, I know that you’re a big believer in Keep It In The Ground. Can you explain to me, how it is that your wind turbines and solar panels will be built without the benefit of the massive quantities of minerals which they require to be extracted from the ground? Many of those minerals, as I am sure you are aware, are rare earth minerals, and their extraction is especially damaging to the environment. Panels and turbines (to a lesser degree) also require gobs of energy in their production, which is going to be hard to come by if we KIITG, am I right? And what happens when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining, Phil? Explain how you are going to power a nation without touching resources which reside in the earth. Backup fossil fuels are ruled out. So are batteries which require minerals from the earth. So, let me know what you’ve got planned!

                • Hey peeny, feeling better now? You still don’t get it do you? What you ask are all dark ages questions, This is the end of the industrial age, it ended a while ago, but it just wont lie down because it fills so many jealously guarded rice bowls. Fossil fuel exploitation provides such short term profits it is kept artificially prolonged to preserve the present corrupt power base. The price is the destruction of the environment and the slavery of the people, you too, you just don’t know it because you have been so completely brainwashed. We have a choice, we either continue the present system and end up perpetual slaves, or we stop it now and unravel the bonds of our own slavery. You ask what I will do, I ask what you will do? You are either part of the problem or you are part of the solution. It won’t be easy, it never is, you can make it painful and decisive or we join together and find our way out of this maze trap. What do you choose? Enjoy the rest of Sunday.

                • You wrote the playbook, Johnny-boy!

                  BTW, you once denied that the UK faced an energy crisis. Have you seen the story in the Telegraph about the comments from Andrew Wright at Ofgem?

                  Yes, indeed, what the UK needs is John Hobson heading Energy policy! Now is a great time to invest loads in renewables and to ignore onshore gas. LOL

    • Dear King Saul, as you know our two armies have been facing each other across the field of battle. The dispute centres on a field in your land which had been leased by us quite legally from a local landowner. Whilst we appreciate this is inside your land, the agreement is legal and we have mining rights to probe not just under the field but under your property too. We had quite clearly marked “No trespassing” on the fence and this field, amongst many others, was to be the place where our troops intended to exploit the local natural resource by a method called “fracking” Now for some reason we cant fathom, many of your people objected to this. So we warned them that any unlawful action would be legally actionable. One of your people, someone called Tina defied this notice and stood in the field. Admittedly she left when asked to and did no damage. So we took her to court and pressed for remuneration. Much to our surprise she failed to appear and refused to declare her finances. So the local court awarded costs and asked her to appear again. Now one of our lawyers, a certain Goliath was fully prepared to press the case, however when it was ascertained that Tina had no assets Goliath seemed to have suffered a siezure which involved a legal slingshot, a stoney determination, and the separation of his corporate head from his legal body. Frankly we are unable to account for this event and many of our supporters, albeit those who did not attend any of the battlefields themselves, are complaining bitterly that this event was somehow fraudulently handled and that Goliath had suffered a dissociation of his legal person.
      I now find that I am unable to justify this result to my people.
      Perhaps I could request we make up a cover story to appease my troops and satisfy your own?
      Kind Regards
      Senachareb Cuadrilla (King Philistine Drilling Corporation)

      • Dear Senachareb, thank you for your post, unfortunately King Saul is away at the moment, he decided to change his library book when we separated from the local bureaucracy. We have a temporary stand in however, a certain Ms May, who does her best, whatever that is. So I write to you instead, my name is Bliar, I used to be something, I’m not sure what, but something.
        Your letter intrigued me, as you know we support your invasi….exploi….extract….energetic efforts to frack gas that will boost our party funds, sorry I mean boost our energy poverty cover story. We have done our utmost to quell the local populace and even tried to bribe them, but I am afraid some are still standing up for their democratic rights, something we try to discourage by removing democracy.
        I am sorry to hear of your humiliation in the face of this Tina you speak of and I hope that your Goliath will recover from his unfortunate separation of cranial credibility.
        In the meantime we are associating the protectors with terrorists in our media and are rapidly removing any legal recourse to the law by little people. If you ever need anything like tax breaks or overturning planning permissions, just call me, my fees are quite reasonable.
        Your servant
        T Bliar

        • Dear Senachareb and Bliar, forgive this direct communication from a “little person” embroiled in this situation. However to provide some balance we thought we should tell you our side in this.
          We are not an army, not troops, we are not terrorists or extremists, we would not be protecting our environment if we were not under threat.
          The truth of the situation is this. Our land is being invaded by the Philistine Drilling Corporation in its many guises. Our own King and government appears to have both sanctioned and supported this. We are promised cheap fuel as a result of this “fracking” process.
          However we are aware of this process used elsewhere and have many reports of pollution, spills, accidents, contempt and destruction of the environment. At the time we trusted our own legal system to listen, support and act on our objections to this activity being operated in our rural countryside. Our attitude is that until every aspect of this activity should be examined, not just by regulatory authorities, but by those who will have this activity next to our homes. We are dismayed that legal representation is overturned by royal decree. Our people are left with few legal options, those that have been attempted are either ignored or prevented by exorbitant legal fees.
          So you see there is really only one avenue left to people, that of public legal protest to make the wider population aware of the situation. The police, paid by us the taxpayers, and the media have labelled us extremists and terrorists. We look at each other and we see just normal every day people trying to protect our countryside, surely something that should be applauded in a normal kingdom.
          Anyway, that aside, this leads us to the situation you are by now aware of. That of Tina and Goliath.
          There are many fields, mostly in beauty spots in our land, that the Philistine Drilling Corporation and affiliates have fenced off with razor wire and put warning notices on gates. These fields are only leased we understand and many are within yards of our homes. So we protest, this being the only effective avenue remaining to us.
          The field in question is in Lanc A Shire a local beauty spot. When heavy chariot movements are routed through our narrow country roads in order to service these fields, protectors show their legal protest by walking in front of the chariot, something which is allowed by law. This is usually attended by many police men and women, this is comforting as it shows how much the police treasure our legal right to protest.
          This particular field was such a subject to protest and several people occupied the field and when asked to leave, did so and did no damage. The drilling company however took exception to this and prosecuted the group in court. One person, the now renowned Tina, voluntered to represent everyone of the group, a heroic act you will admit.
          The court case appeared to center on trespass, which is not a criminal act and was handled on behalf of the drilling company by a certain Goliath, famous for having an unusually large legal stature. The case seemed to be prolonged and involved and I wont bore you with the legal niceties and complications. Throughout this process Tina remained impassive and the focus seemed to fall on costs. A somewhat irrelevant legal issue, but one Goliath seemed set on. Tina refused to provide financial information, mostly because she had none and eventually the court admitted that to pursue Tina legally was pointless and dismissed the case. Goliath did not take this well and threatened to pursue Tina further should she come into money. A curious attitude since there is no legal point of order in such a threat. Then events seem to happen, Goliath suffered something resembling a fit and legally collapsed with the resulting separation of his corporate head from his legal body. His last words were to mumble something about slings and arrows and stoney ground. Tina walked free to cheers and Goliath was carried away in two separate containers.
          That’s about it, we hear a lot of complaints from the Philistine camp, complaints of “unfair” and “foul play” and endless pointless reviews of the ins and outs of the case.
          So you see the Philistines created their own demise in this, and pursued one lady and lost.
          We trust in future that we the people will be supported in any future encounter and the drilling companies be made to comply with the “gold standard” regulations we hear so much about. How are the gold reserves by the way? Thanks for reading this.
          Until next time
          The People

  2. Excellent news, well done Tina and everyone who supported Tina, bad news for Cuadrilla, their deliberate attempt to put one elderly lady in jail was a failure.One assumes they will have to pay their own costs. There was a veiled threat about that from Cuadrilla regarding ‘change of circumstance’, so their mindset has not improved at all.

  3. ‘Cuadrilla V Rothery’

    A bad bad day for a company desperate to look like it cares about people.

    No wonder no one wants them as a neighbour

    A huge nail brought upon by themselves.

    Greed and bullying is futile against the force of cup cakes and all things scummy.

    Well done Tina

  4. Ha! That’s not a victory. She’s simply purged her contempt by finally obeying the court order to disclose her finances and that means the threat of jail is lifted. I note that she’s previously quoted as refusing to disclose details of her assets as a point of principle. Strange how those principles disappear at the very real threat of imprisonment. Anyway, she still owes the money and if she’s ever in a position to pay it, e.g. she inherits money, Cuadrilla can still come after her.

    • Don’t you not think Cuadrilla have done their reputation enough damage here without stalking a grandma’s bank statements? What about the lies we seem to have been told all week that it wasn’t up to Cuadrilla to stop this charade? It seems now that it was in their power all the time, but THEY chose to extend this business.

      I’m still trying to work out why a case apparently brought by assorted landowners was funded by Cuadrilla.

      They have now damaged their reputation still further and gained absolutely nothing in return. Well done them!

      • Not sure how this damages Cuadrilla’s reputation given that they have quite sensibly decided not to pursue costs (at least for now), taking into account Ms. Rothery’s financial situation – now that they know them, I might add.

        • Now that they know them? Are you seriously suggesting that they thought she could pay them 50K? Quit while you are not too far behind Cuadrilla guy I might add.

        • Sensible?? The whole story is absurd! £55000 for camping in a field and leaving when they said, no mess to clean up. And evicting them when they knew they’d left. What could possibly be construed as sensible? Cuadrilla are off their head! They lose credibility with the folk they’re trying to charm. They will never have a social licence to ruin the land and the communities. Sensible would be to stop the whole idea. Its not wanted and no amount of money/bribes will change that

    • Libel is a rich man’s game and the court has declared that the “hippy pikie” has no money. Libel action looks doubtful on that basis.

        • A neighbour of mine had a Blue Burmese called Custard, it was a crazy cat and used to sit on the garage roof in the hope of catching birds. A hawk flew down one day and sunk its tallons into it and tried to carry it off. Custard was too fat and the hawk dropped it into the pond. From then on it stayed behind the window in the lounge and growled and spat at the sky and scooted every time a bird came near.
          We called it cowardly Custard from then on. Think it died of shame soon afterwards.

          • So Custard never got to work for one of Cuadrilla’s many PR companies then Phil? LOL – Maybe it really was evil and there’s something in reincarnation and karma after all?


            • Maybe Custard had seven lives? Clearly at least one lives today, though by all accounts its days are numbered?
              Maybe one one day it will lose its remaining lives in the battle of Little Big Bird? Even the seventh cavalry wont save it, they will have apologised to the Lakota by then?

        • Ah but you have to remember that 99% of the pro-frackers won’t let you know who they are – now why might THAT be?

  5. If i was to sterotype i would of said antifrackers and protesters the like are similar to people that like to go on strike and is some what work shy…

    Which is thus proven in this artical, as the person in question has no money or any assets..
    So from my deduction are providing nothing of any use to society except a hinderance soaking up benifits and causing expense to tax payers one way or another…

    The world needs to move forward not be held back..

    The holder backers would of starved and died if we was still in the stone age..
    To busy arguing about which tree should be or not be cut down for weapons to get dinner…

    • [edited by moderator]
      Go to some of the meetings and find out for your self the rich tapestry of people who do not agree with fracking the UK; teachers, doctors, lawyers, cleaners, nurses, retail workers, engineers, academics, police, politicians, factory workers, carers, social workers, home makers, child carers, mums, dads, grandparents, retired, school children, students, builders,farmers………..

    • Tony, so you’re saying people with little income are all workshy? And have no purpose in life? And since you are so averse to people striking for their rights, then I guess you will be voluntarily giving up those tights that were all hard won? That includes paternity and maternity leave, equal pay, paid holidays, sick leave, gender equality, right not to be sacked without good reason, fair working hours, no child labour, etc etc etc.

      But I do agree with you that “The world needs to move forward not be held back”, which is why we need to move away from the old fossil fool industry and go forward to safe, clean, efficient and reliable renewable energy that is now available (and being put to good use in other parts of the world that are not addicted and obsessed by fossil fuel).

  6. Well done Tina Louise Rothery for bringing media attention to the anti fracking campaign. We owe you warm thanks, from Ribble Valley, Lancashire (Katy M)

  7. [edited by moderator]

    I admit, as i’ve said before fracking is not the best answer… But its better than the situation where in at the minute.. I do have my doubts tho more to do with toxicating the water line than a thorney eared owl or the noise levels being so loud to desturb my sunday read or any of the other c@py reasons…
    Things will be monitored and done professionally with everyones best intrest at heart…
    Its not just going to happen invisibly there will be some sort of interruption to someone life, prob mine will be one of them, i dont live far away from one of the sites..

    • So you are a potential victim of this poisonous Industry yourself? Me too, not far from me and my children are close to other sites. As for me I have worked all my life, more than fifty odd years. I would guess I was working and paying tax long before you were born. Most of the protectors i meet are either retired or do it in their spare time on weekends. I cant think of any unemployed on benefits, some are independent or self employed though. Most simply are protecting their homes, their health and their children, and that of everyone else in this country, hardly a selfish attitude?
      How about you?

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