Learn suffragette lessons, say sisters found guilty of obstruction at shale gas site

180802 Patsy Harper and Val Mager court case

Val Mager (front second left), Patsie Harper (centre) and lawyer Helen White (front second right). Photo: Ian Crane

Two sisters given absolute discharges after guilty verdicts for obstruction at a shale gas in Nottinghamshire have likened their anti-fracking actions to the votes for women movement.

Val Mager (69) and Patsie Harper (62), long-standing opponents of the onshore oil and gas industry, had been arrested in March 2018 outside the IGas site at Misson.

After their trial last week, they complained that the right to protest against fracking was being eroded. They drew comparison with the suffragette movement and vowed to continue non-violent actions.

In a statement they said:

“The development of wide- ranging injunctions by the industry, the actions of Nottinghamshire Police and the government permission for fracking in Lancashire suggest an increasingly hostile environment for anti-fracking activists.

“We believe standing by the road with placards once a week is not sufficient.

“The erosion of democratic rights to protest inevitably leads to consideration of the lessons of the Suffragette campaigns of the last century.”

They told Mansfield Magistrates Court they had used conventional democratic methods and legal rights to oppose what they said were the threats from fracking to the environment and water supplies.

Their lawyer, Helen White, said:

“Civil disobedience has a long and honourable history in this country. People who break the law to affirm their belief in the injustice of a law or Government action are sometimes vindicated by history. The suffragettes are an example of this and in my respectful submission only time will tell whether these defendants will be vindicated in the same way”.

The sisters were found guilty of obstruction but the magistrates gave them both absolute discharges, where no further action is taken by the court, with no costs or fines.

6 replies »

  1. Magistrates are respected people from a Community appointed to ensure fairness in local proceedings.
    They reflect local opinions and concerns so when a dodgy offshore corporation enters their Community uninvited and threatens to inflict Unhappiness and Environmental Damage all around those defending that Community need to be admired and respected not bullied, vllified and prosecuted!
    Well done to the Neighbourhood Watch and well done to the Magistrates!

  2. Even the Tory MP Mark Menzies honoured the Suffragette Movement recently by unveiling a plaque in their memory!
    Sadly it was sited opposite a primary school less than two miles downwind from the PNR fracking site which his government are forcing upon the locality contrary to our Democratic wishes l
    Dozens of people have been arrested for peacefully protesting against this obscenity including local businessmen, Councillors and even a television news reporter!

  3. Yes, Peter and there is now an injunction. All to prevent “peaceful protest”??

    Good that you keep the faith-but the general public, and the Judges, are not convinced.

  4. Well said Peter.
    little martin – you continue to be an useful idiot on here as a stooge for the industry. Go home and do some objective research please.

    • Congratulations ladies on bringing this vital issue to the fore, and also to the magistrates who have shown recognition of this very special year in the history, of the still ongoing struggle for equality by all accounts, of women’s rights to vote and for everyone’s rights to protest and demonstrate against destructive industry and the present reactionary recidivist governments attempts to over turn everyone’s human rights in favour of their private profit motivated big oil and gas paymasters.

  5. So, you are now relying upon Paul to allow your silly nonsense, Dr. Seems as if he is, so go for it. Always happens during school holidays.

    Oil to reach $90/barrel, following Donald’s re-imposition of embargo upon Iran. Objective enough-but inconvenient.

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