20 climate change activists face a Crown Court trial for planning to shut down the UK’s third largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions. 6 more are to be tried in January merely for thinking about it.
The 20 defendants arrested on 13 April 2009 admit that they planned to shut down the Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal power station, but argue that they are not guilty because they were acting to prevent the greater crimes of death and serious injury caused by climate change. This is called a ‘defence of necessity’.
Through invasive surveillance police had gathered information on the activists, pinpointed their location, and interrupted the meeting. The campaigners were held for over twenty hours before being released onto the streets of Nottingham in the middle of the night, many with their phones and money confiscated.
All charges were dropped for the majority of the 114, but 26 have been committed to Nottingham Crown Court on a charge of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass. The maximum sentence for this offence is three months in prison, a fine of £2,500, or both. All entered a plea of not guilty.
Six of the defendants hadn’t yet decided whether or not to take part in the action when the police arrived on the scene. They were arrested anyway, just for thinking about climate action!
Day 1 – Monday 22nd November – The trial begins