Legal

“Fossil fools” day protesters acquitted

190401-misson-protest-uwoc3-e1554128424512.jpg

Lock-on protest outside IGas shale gas site at Springs Road, Misson, north Nottinghamshire, 1 April 2019. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

Two women who took part in a lock-on protest during an anti-fracking demonstration outside the IGas shale gas site at Misson in Nottinghamshire have been found not guilty of obstruction.

Stephanie Robinson, of Sheffield, and Michelle Maddock, of Dronfield, were among about 80 people at the event, called Fossil Fools Day, on 1 April 2019.

Ms Robinson and Ms Maddock locked themselves together in the site entrance, blocking lorry access for about nine hours.

At a trial at Mansfield Magistrates Court (14 November 2019), they denied obstructing the highway.

The court heard that deliveries by heavy goods vehicles were cancelled or delayed, although staff were able to enter and leave the site.

District Judge Andrew Meachin said he could not be sure they were wholly on the highway and found them not guilty.

Ms Maddock said after the trial

“I am a great believer in standing up against injustice. Gas extraction is an injustice and needs opposing by all means available to us”

“It took a few minutes for the verdict to sink in. It was not something I expected. I am extremely happy with the result.”

2 replies »

  1. Evidential failure by the police compounded by unrealistic confidence of conviction based on this failed evidence by the Crown Prosecution Service has wasted thousands of pounds of taxpayers money and many hours out of the lives of all concerned.
    Peaceful protest to protect people’s health and the environment is not only citizen’s entitlement but also our Duty.

  2. Quote ‘District Judge Andrew Meachin said he could not be sure they were wholly on the highway and found them not guilty.’
    Leaving aside the rights or wrongs of locking on, I find it deeply disturbing and, quite frankly, outrageous that this case cost the public purse a significant amount of money and resources, yet neither the police nor the CPS were capable of precisely locating where these women were (and the photo above would indicate they were not exactly mobile), and more importantly, where the public highway ended and private property began. To take a case through the whole process culminating in court without the most basic of evidence is ludicrous. And this only days after the CPS were found to have been applying quotas to rape cases resulting in the less clear cut cases being ditched to artificially bump up the conviction rates of the remainder. Some people really need to take a long hard look at priorities… and competencies.

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