Ruling decision expected in anti-frack protest trial

The 10 defendants
The 10 defendants

A judge will today rule (Friday, 03 November) on a case involving 10 Greenpeace activists accused of blocking the entrance to a gas exploration site

Anti-frackers in court over 'lock on' protest

They are alleged to have obstructed the highway outside the Cuadrilla gas site on Preston New Road.

Police found 10 members of Greenpeace “locked-on” in pairs across the site entrance.

The barrister who represents all 10 defendant – Owen Greenall –told District Judge Jeff Brailsford: “These defendants have not shied away from their intention to provide a blockade for a day.

“This is an important issue for the people of Lancashire.There were 14,000 objections to the plans for Cuadrilla to drill for shale gas and 160,000 people signed Greenpeace’s petition of objection.

“We have heard evidence of earthquakes at a previous site.

“This protest on Cuadrilla’s own admission did not affect the work they were doing.

“It is only after this protest that the council painted a blue line delineating the public highway from Cuadrilla’s private land.”

Their arms were covered by large yellow boxes bearing anti fracking logos.

Prosecutor Vincent Yip summing up the Crown’s case told the judge: “Even when the protesters were given what is called the five step warning by police during which they were told they were obstructing the highway they continued with what they were doing.

“Two of them had to be cut out of their equipment by a special police team.”

The defendants are: Abigail Mortimer, 30, of Lorne Road, Haringey, Helen Dryden, 47, of Calveley Walk, Standish, Liz Stanton, 54, of Grafton Street, Preston and Gillian Wood, 50, of Regent Road, Blackpool; James Biggs, 30, of Canning Street, Liverpool, Peter Chan, 48, of Waverley Road,Reading, Jane Hayes, 58, of Langdale End, Scarborough, Hamish Haynes, 43, of Quarry Clough, Tameside, Jeffrey Rice, 50, of Boulton Close, Chesterfield and Barrie Broadley, 49, of Ipswich Road, Norwich.

They all denied wilfully obstructing the highway outside the Cuadrilla site in May this year.