Four anti-fracking activists guilty of blocking Balcombe highway

Barry Slipper, left, and James Jones who were both found guilty of wilfully obstructing a public highway, and Kim Turner and Katie Brown, both found not guilty on two charges.

Barry Slipper, left, and James Jones who were both found guilty of wilfully obstructing a public highway, and Kim Turner and Katie Brown, both found not guilty on two charges.

First published in News
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Four anti-fracking activists have been found guilty of blocking a highway during protests in Balcombe last summer.

But another five also at the protest outside energy firm Cuadrilla’s test drilling site last August were cleared of the same charge at Brighton Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Eight of the nine were cleared of a second charge of breaching the public order following the removal of the protesters by police on August 19.

James Jones, Chris Seal, Barry Slipper and Matthew Whitney had all taken part in a “lock-on” – where protesters attach themselves to each other – and were found guilty of wilfully obstructing the public highway.

District Judge William Ashworth said a lawful protest could allow the blocking of a highway under the Human Rights Act. But he said the four had gone “too far”.

He added: “Articles 10 and 11 are not trump cards to allow any obstruction. They could quite easily have ceased their protest at a reasonable point during the police interaction but chose to take it as far as they possibly could.”

Mr Ashworth said the public highway was the only access to the site for emergency vehicles.

Mr Ashworth said it was clear the other defendants also “wished to delay the police” but he could not be sure that their actions were “excessive”.

Delivering his judgement, Mr Ashworth said there was no evidence that written notices were put up in Balcombe about the section 14 order – which gives police the power to impose conditions on assemblies to prevent serious public disorder, serious criminal damage or serious disruption to the life of the community.

He could not find any of the eight defendants charged with breaching public order guilty of violating the order.

Mr Ashworth singled out Slipper, 47, of Southampton, as the “organiser” of the protest who had “dragged” in “some impressionable young people”.

He was fined £200, and ordered to pay £300 costs and a £20 surcharge.

Jones, 19, of Liverpool, was described as a “young man caught up in something”.

He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £300 costs and a £15 surcharge.

Whitney, 30, of Nottingham, who was not present at the hearing, was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £300 costs and a £15 surcharge.

Seal, 30, of London, was tried in his absence and a warrant for his arrest has been issued.

Katie Brown, 34, and Luke Evans, 34, from Liverpool, Camille Herreman, 26, of Nottingham, Kim Turner, 57, of Brighton, and Phillip Cawkwell, 52, of Ascot, were all cleared of wilfully obstructing the public highway.

Mrs Turner said that the verdict had vindicated the action they had taken.

She said: “We had an almost moral responsibility to protest against fracking – a dangerous and dirty industry.”

  • We would like to point out that a photograph accompanying the story when it was first published online may have had a misleading caption. The photograph showed two people who were found guilty of wilfully obstructing a public highway, Barry Slipper and James Jones, and two people who were cleared of the charge, Kim Turner and Katie Brown. All four defendants pictured were also found not guilty of a breach of a public order. The story has always been an accurate account of the court proceedings, however our original photo caption may have been misleading as it referred to the four people in the trial who were found guilty of wilfully obstructing a public highway and not specifically to the four defendants in the photo. We have since ammended the photo caption and are happy to make this clarification.

Comments (9)

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6:57am Tue 8 Apr 14

roystony says...

Lol, so 4 people represent Sussex. Frack off
Lol, so 4 people represent Sussex. Frack off roystony
  • Score: 11

9:41am Tue 8 Apr 14

MikeyA says...

roystony wrote:
Lol, so 4 people represent Sussex. Frack off
And I note that they were all local to Balcombe, of course...
[quote][p][bold]roystony[/bold] wrote: Lol, so 4 people represent Sussex. Frack off[/p][/quote]And I note that they were all local to Balcombe, of course... MikeyA
  • Score: 6

10:50am Tue 8 Apr 14

whatone says...

MikeyA wrote:
roystony wrote:
Lol, so 4 people represent Sussex. Frack off
And I note that they were all local to Balcombe, of course...
How local are those who are imposing fracking on Sussex without a democratic mandate?
[quote][p][bold]MikeyA[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]roystony[/bold] wrote: Lol, so 4 people represent Sussex. Frack off[/p][/quote]And I note that they were all local to Balcombe, of course...[/p][/quote]How local are those who are imposing fracking on Sussex without a democratic mandate? whatone
  • Score: -1

12:31pm Tue 8 Apr 14

pachallis says...

whatone wrote:
MikeyA wrote:
roystony wrote:
Lol, so 4 people represent Sussex. Frack off
And I note that they were all local to Balcombe, of course...
How local are those who are imposing fracking on Sussex without a democratic mandate?
@whatone - I think you'll find that Members of Parliament and Councillors are elected democratically and as such do have the mandate.

It's the self-righteous self-proclaimed eco-warriors leading weak-minded supporters to break the law that don't have the democratic mandate.

If you are talking about democratic mandates there is only 1 Green MP in parliament and she seems more worried about feminism and drugs than real green issues.

There is a minority green-led council in Brighton and Hove that has failed miserably with green policies having achieved less recycling and high pollution levels in the city centre - they have declared Brighton & Hove a frack-free city which is within their 'mandate' but as the geology of the area doesn't support fracking it is an empty gesture.
[quote][p][bold]whatone[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]MikeyA[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]roystony[/bold] wrote: Lol, so 4 people represent Sussex. Frack off[/p][/quote]And I note that they were all local to Balcombe, of course...[/p][/quote]How local are those who are imposing fracking on Sussex without a democratic mandate?[/p][/quote]@whatone - I think you'll find that Members of Parliament and Councillors are elected democratically and as such do have the mandate. It's the self-righteous self-proclaimed eco-warriors leading weak-minded supporters to break the law that don't have the democratic mandate. If you are talking about democratic mandates there is only 1 Green MP in parliament and she seems more worried about feminism and drugs than real green issues. There is a minority green-led council in Brighton and Hove that has failed miserably with green policies having achieved less recycling and high pollution levels in the city centre - they have declared Brighton & Hove a frack-free city which is within their 'mandate' but as the geology of the area doesn't support fracking it is an empty gesture. pachallis
  • Score: 8

12:43pm Tue 8 Apr 14

whatone says...

@Pachallis

Ah, your 'mandate'.

You mean of course people like Lord Browne who has the 'mandate' to steer through energy policies whilst being a chairman of Cuadrilla?

Or local MP Charles Hendry who is on the payroll of Vitol, an energy traing company with dubious links to war criminals?

The list of those who have been 'bought' is long!

But has fracking ever been subject to a vote or mentioned in any manifesto?

Have local people ever been given a say?

If there was a democratic process involved then I'd go with a simple majority verdict, but there hasn't been one

For one simple reason - the 'vested interests' probably wouldn't like the answer!
@Pachallis Ah, your 'mandate'. You mean of course people like Lord Browne who has the 'mandate' to steer through energy policies whilst being a chairman of Cuadrilla? Or local MP Charles Hendry who is on the payroll of Vitol, an energy traing company with dubious links to war criminals? The list of those who have been 'bought' is long! But has fracking ever been subject to a vote or mentioned in any manifesto? Have local people ever been given a say? If there was a democratic process involved then I'd go with a simple majority verdict, but there hasn't been one For one simple reason - the 'vested interests' probably wouldn't like the answer! whatone
  • Score: -3

1:00pm Tue 8 Apr 14

billy goat-gruff says...

The moaners would soon change their tune if fracking started under their homes!
The moaners would soon change their tune if fracking started under their homes! billy goat-gruff
  • Score: -5

1:54pm Tue 8 Apr 14

pachallis says...

whatone wrote:
@Pachallis

Ah, your 'mandate'.

You mean of course people like Lord Browne who has the 'mandate' to steer through energy policies whilst being a chairman of Cuadrilla?

Or local MP Charles Hendry who is on the payroll of Vitol, an energy traing company with dubious links to war criminals?

The list of those who have been 'bought' is long!

But has fracking ever been subject to a vote or mentioned in any manifesto?

Have local people ever been given a say?

If there was a democratic process involved then I'd go with a simple majority verdict, but there hasn't been one

For one simple reason - the 'vested interests' probably wouldn't like the answer!
@whatone - sorry I forgot - the same old rubbish from you. I can't be bothered to discuss this with you again - you obviously still don't know the meaning of the word 'democracy' - in fact there are probably a lot of words you don't know the meaning of.
[quote][p][bold]whatone[/bold] wrote: @Pachallis Ah, your 'mandate'. You mean of course people like Lord Browne who has the 'mandate' to steer through energy policies whilst being a chairman of Cuadrilla? Or local MP Charles Hendry who is on the payroll of Vitol, an energy traing company with dubious links to war criminals? The list of those who have been 'bought' is long! But has fracking ever been subject to a vote or mentioned in any manifesto? Have local people ever been given a say? If there was a democratic process involved then I'd go with a simple majority verdict, but there hasn't been one For one simple reason - the 'vested interests' probably wouldn't like the answer![/p][/quote]@whatone - sorry I forgot - the same old rubbish from you. I can't be bothered to discuss this with you again - you obviously still don't know the meaning of the word 'democracy' - in fact there are probably a lot of words you don't know the meaning of. pachallis
  • Score: 5

3:00pm Tue 8 Apr 14

pachallis says...

billy goat-gruff wrote:
The moaners would soon change their tune if fracking started under their homes!
@billy goat-gruff - wouldn't worry me - normallly 5,000 to 20,000 feet below ground level (according to wikpedia)?

Unlike coal mining - 180 to 300 feet, or underground trains - 80 to 200 feet. These are much more scary - ban these !

Fracking is so far down, well below water aquifers - what are you worried about?
[quote][p][bold]billy goat-gruff[/bold] wrote: The moaners would soon change their tune if fracking started under their homes![/p][/quote]@billy goat-gruff - wouldn't worry me - normallly 5,000 to 20,000 feet below ground level (according to wikpedia)? Unlike coal mining - 180 to 300 feet, or underground trains - 80 to 200 feet. These are much more scary - ban these ! Fracking is so far down, well below water aquifers - what are you worried about? pachallis
  • Score: 4

3:23pm Tue 8 Apr 14

whatone says...

pachallis wrote:
whatone wrote:
@Pachallis

Ah, your 'mandate'.

You mean of course people like Lord Browne who has the 'mandate' to steer through energy policies whilst being a chairman of Cuadrilla?

Or local MP Charles Hendry who is on the payroll of Vitol, an energy traing company with dubious links to war criminals?

The list of those who have been 'bought' is long!

But has fracking ever been subject to a vote or mentioned in any manifesto?

Have local people ever been given a say?

If there was a democratic process involved then I'd go with a simple majority verdict, but there hasn't been one

For one simple reason - the 'vested interests' probably wouldn't like the answer!
@whatone - sorry I forgot - the same old rubbish from you. I can't be bothered to discuss this with you again - you obviously still don't know the meaning of the word 'democracy' - in fact there are probably a lot of words you don't know the meaning of.
The fact that you won't discuss it merely shows you have lost the argument about Democracy.

So please do come back to us when you get past the Ladybird books stage!
[quote][p][bold]pachallis[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]whatone[/bold] wrote: @Pachallis Ah, your 'mandate'. You mean of course people like Lord Browne who has the 'mandate' to steer through energy policies whilst being a chairman of Cuadrilla? Or local MP Charles Hendry who is on the payroll of Vitol, an energy traing company with dubious links to war criminals? The list of those who have been 'bought' is long! But has fracking ever been subject to a vote or mentioned in any manifesto? Have local people ever been given a say? If there was a democratic process involved then I'd go with a simple majority verdict, but there hasn't been one For one simple reason - the 'vested interests' probably wouldn't like the answer![/p][/quote]@whatone - sorry I forgot - the same old rubbish from you. I can't be bothered to discuss this with you again - you obviously still don't know the meaning of the word 'democracy' - in fact there are probably a lot of words you don't know the meaning of.[/p][/quote]The fact that you won't discuss it merely shows you have lost the argument about Democracy. So please do come back to us when you get past the Ladybird books stage! whatone
  • Score: -1

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