Convictions For Activists - Climate Criminals Walk Free
"On the 10th April 2007, 11 people walked into the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station and locked on to the coal conveyor and assorted plant there. Their objective was to take direct action to halt operations and thus to diminish the CO2 emissions of the E-on plant, the greenhouse gas thought to be largely responsible for climate change. They were all charged with aggravated trespass and throughout the court case (which lasted for 3 days), the defendants argued that yes, they did take these actions, but employed the defence of "duress of circumstances" or necessity, and pleaded not guilty.
On Monday 25th Feb, 10 defendants (one having had the charges dismissed due to lack of evidence) returned to court to receive the judgement. Judge Cooper had earlier said that he wished to compliment all the defendants on the way they had handled themselves and on the presentation of their case. However all were found guilty."
This event was covored by RiseUp Radio: The March Show.
This trial was interesting due to the defence being used. The accused stated that they where forced to take this course of action bearing in mind the threat posed by climate change if inaction where to be the chosen course of action.
Throughout the court case [described in the links below], the defendants argued that yes, they did take these actions, but employed the defence of "duress of circumstances" or necessity, and pleaded not guilty.Clearly the judge decided that this was not an acceptable defence. Working in new legal territory caution is the order of the day and the judge ruled that a narrow view of this type of defence was required to avoid abuse and a breakdown of social order. I understand this logic, however, caution cuts both ways. The threats on either side of the argument are social disorder and danger from inaction respectively; whilst a broad interpretation opens up the possibility of abuse, so does a narrow definition. Choosing a narrow definition errs on the side of the status quo--assuming current conditions are more likely to be acceptable--whereas choosing an expansive definition errs on the side of change.
At the beginning of the case, there was legal argument on if the court would hear this defence. It did and the case was proceeded with in making such argument. It is thought to be the first case dealing with environmental matters, that this defence had been employed.
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