'Significant victory for the consciousness of the British people’ regarding the climate crisis and government inaction.
Six Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters – including Quaker XR co-founder Ian Bray – have been cleared of causing £25,000 worth of damage to the Shell headquarters in London.
The trial has been hailed as a landmark, with the judge telling the jury the defendants had no defence in law for the charges. ‘In many ways this is a highly unusual case… it’s for you to consider not me,’ he added.
Jane Augsburger, Ian Bray, Senan Clifford, David Lambert, Sid Saunders and XR co-founder Simon Bramwell all pleaded not guilty and chose to self-represent. Katerina Hasapopoulos earlier pleaded guilty to criminal damage and will be sentenced later. Simon Bramwell said she only pleaded guilty due to childcare issues.
The jury took just over seven hours to reach their decision at the Southwark Crown Court on 23 April. At the trial the defendants explained they had targeted the building during the April 2019 ‘Rebellion’ across London because Shell was directly contributing to the climate crisis, thereby causing serious injury and death, and it was a ‘necessary’ and ‘proportionate’ response.
Ian Bray quoted Martin Luther King Jnr. and said: ‘Love required me to act and I willingly submit to your judgement.’
The Huddersfield Quaker, who was upheld by his Meeting, later told the Friend he felt subdued, not jubilant. ‘I think we need to see how it lands more broadly. It’s a life’s work.’
Simon Bramwell said it was ‘a significant victory for the consciousness of the British people’ regarding the climate crisis and government inaction.
Farhana Yamin, Paris Agreement negotiator and lead author on three of the five Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change IPCC reports, was also arrested and investigated for gluing herself to Shell HQ, but the police decided not to bring charges.She tweeted that she was thrilled at the result for the XR protesters.
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