Legal

Anti-fracking campaigners to appeal against jail sentences

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Rich Loizou, Richard Roberts and Simon Roscoe Blevin (front left to right) with supporters outside Preston Law Courts before the sentencing hearing. Photo: DrillOrDrop, 25 September 2018

Three men sent to jail last week for taking part in anti-fracking protests are to appeal against their sentences.

A judge at Preston Crown Court sentenced Simon Roscoe Blevins and Richard Roberts to 16 months in prison. Richard Loizou was given 15 months. DrillOrDrop report

The three men had been found guilty at trial of causing a public nuisance. They had climbed on top of the cabs of lorries delivering to Cuadrilla’s shale gas site, in a protest that lasted 99 hours. Julian Brock, a fourth man, who also took part in the protest, received a suspended jail sentence.

A spokesperson for Robert Lizar solicitors told DrillOrDrop:

“We confirm we will be lodging an appeal against sentence. We will be submitting that the sentences were wrong in principle and manifestly excessive.”

Kirsty Brimelow QC, the head of the international human rights team at Doughty St Chambers, told the Guardian she was leading the appeal on a pro bono basis:

“We are applying to the court of appeal for expedition of the appeal.

“We are fortunate in this country that there is this option. The core submission in this case was made at Preston crown court – that it is wrong to lock up peaceful protesters.”

The men’s protest, in July 2017, was thought to be the longest anti-fracking action in the UK. They are believed to be the first anti-fracking campaigners to be sent to prison for a protest.

During the sentencing hearing, Ms Brimelow said the men would be the first environmental activists to be imprisoned for the act of protest since the mass trespass on Kinder Scout in 1932. Other campaigners have been jailed for breaking court orders and injunctions.

The sentences were widely condemned after the trial. DrillOrDrop reported today that more than 1,000 academics had signed an open letter against the sentences.

24 replies »

  1. There’s an old saying amongst criminals…”If you can’t do the time then don’t do the crime”. Yes, the sentence was excessive, but if I did such a protest it would be in expectation of being gaoled.

    • So by your logic AW a ‘protester’ = a criminal? Maybe you should have that conversation with someone next time you vote [or maybe you count yourself in the minority that did not need the actions of the suffragettes to vote, union strikes to enjoy safe working practice and decent pay?]

  2. Mind you if it were also an offence to appear in court in ill fitting unpressed suits, they could have got another 2 years

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