Balcombe Protectors Acquitted

09 January 2014 People celebrate outside Brighton Magistrates Court after Balcombe protectors acquitted on all charges as a result of their courageous actions to defend Sussex from fracking last summer.

Over 120 people were arrest during the 2 month blockade of Cuadrilla's Balcombe fracking site. More than twenty trials are still scheduled over the next few month at the moment.

 

  • 10:00am – Court back on
  • 10:00am – Judge tries to explain Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 to public gallery
  • 10:45am – Judge states proceedings could finish today!
  • 11:00am – Defence reads character references. Prosecution doesn’t like them but judge says he will make up his own mind
  • 11:50am – Defence establishes no warning given before arrests
  • 11:55am – Protector explains how his act involves a bed of nails and the police tried to drag him off it without asking him to get up
  • 12:15pm – Bed of nails was placed between log and gate on health and safety grounds
  • 12:25pm – Penultimate protector describes how he was physically assaulted by the police prior to his arrest
  • 12:30pm – Protector describes police using pressure points to inflict great pain on him
  • 12:45pm – Balcombe resident takes the stand as a witness
  • 12:50pm – Witness confirms that road was closed
  • 12:55pm – Witness had picnic with kids
  • 1:00pm – Witness describes how atmosphere changed when a battalion of police arrived – they were trapped as police started violently arresting people – her 5 year old son was traumatised
  • 1:10pm – Prosecution is asking to reopen case and produce new witness – a Cuadrilla drilling supervisor. Defence is objecting.
  • 1:15pm – Judge hearing objections
  • 1:15pm – Judge to allow prosecutions new evidence. Court rises for lunch back at 2pm
  • 2:00pm – Court back in session
  • 2:10pm – Cuadrilla drilling supervisor in witness box
  • 2:35pm – Cross examination of Cuadrilla employee completed
  • 2:55pm – Final protector takes the stand
  • 3:20pm – Defence case over; Court in recess until 3:30pm
  • 3:30pm – Court recovened
  • 3:35pm – Prosecution summing up
  • 3:40pm – Prosecution claim protectors should have just protested e.g. with a placard, and let Cuadrilla get on with fracking Sussex
  • 3:45pm – Judge about to announce verdict
  • 3:45pm – One protector is found not guilty on ridiculous assault charge resulting from police knocking
  • 4:00pm – All protectors acquitted!
  • 4:00pm – District Judge found their actions were reasonable in the circumstances and that they acted with dignity.
  • 4:00pm – Suggested that the Police had very bad memories with regard to their evidence! Big question was deemed to be limits of freedom of speech.