Activists’ acquittals show the public is ‘taking far more seriously’ the climate crisis


The acquittal of three extirpated rebel activists who stopped a crowded train in central London is part of a “growing pattern” of a jury taking climate change more seriously than the government, claimed by their lawyer.

Reverend Sue Parfitt, 79, Father Martin Newell, 54, and former university lecturer Philip Kingston, 85, on Friday became the latest protesters to be acquitted for protesting on public transport.

The Inner London Crown Court jury unanimously approved all three for obstructing railways after their protest at Shadwell station on October 17, 2019.

There is mounting evidence from the courts – and especially from the jury – that the public is taking the climate crisis and there is an urgent need to focus more seriously on it than government and business

Mr Kingston sticks his hand to the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train, while the Rev Parfitt and Father Newell climb onto the roof and pray for the planet.

The Rev Parfitt called Friday’s acquittal a “verification” of his action, though a Tory MP called the protest “selfish” and said the jury system needed to be reviewed.

Mike Schwarz, solicitor for the law firm Hodge Jones and Allen, which represented the defendants, said: “There is mounting evidence—from courts—and especially from juries—that the public is taking the climate crisis and the increasingly urgent need to focus on It has been taken on this much more seriously than the government and business. This decision is part of this growing pattern.”

This outrageous decision has given a green signal to those willing to commit all kinds of heinous crimes in the name of religion to justify their extreme political ideologies.

Conservative MP Brendan Clark-Smith criticized the decision, calling it “the green light to those willing to commit all kinds of horrific crimes”.

The Bassetlaw MP said: “The selfish actions and arrogance of these individuals prevented people from working to prevent their families, children from going to school, wasted the time of our emergency services, and put people’s lives at risk. I don’t see it as being exclusively Christian.

“While I will always defend the jury system, it clearly needs review, and this outrageous decision gave people the green light to commit all kinds of horrific crimes in the name of religion to justify their extreme political ideologies. Is.”

Summarizing Thursday, Judge Silas Reid asked the jury to decide whether the defendants’ actions and the disruptions they caused were “proportional” with their right to protest.

He reminded jurors that the motivation of the protesters was not relevant to whether they were guilty of causing disproportionate disruption to the public, nor to the sincerity of their belief in what they were doing.

Judge Reid told the court: “Deliberate disruptive action, even one that has more than a minimal impact on the rights of other people, does not need to be punished.