Thursday, September 28, 2023

Just Stop Oil activists fail in Court of Appeal bid

TWO Just Stop Oil activists who scaled the Dartford Crossing bridge have lost their Court of Appeal bid for reduced sentences.

Morgan Trowland, 40, and Marcus Decker, 34, were suspended over the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge for about 37 hours.

Trowland was jailed for three years, and Decker for two years and seven months, following a trial.
Their appeals were rejected by three senior judges, who said the sentences were “not excessive”.

At a hearing in London last week, the protesters’ lawyers made a bid to challenge the “extraordinary length” of Trowland’s three-year sentence and Decker’s jail term of two years and seven months.

But Lady Justice Sue Carr, sitting with Mrs Justice Johanna Cutts and Mrs Justice Justine Thornton, said: “This was very serious offending by repeat protest offenders who were trespassers and on bail at the time.
“Whilst the protest was non-violent as such, it had extreme consequences for many, many members of the public.”

The judges acknowledged the “long and honourable tradition of civil disobedience on conscientious grounds” and that the sentences handed to Trowland and Decker went “well beyond previous sentences imposed for this type of offending”.

But Lady Justice Carr said the jail terms reflected “Parliament’s will” under new laws enacted under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act last year which introduced a new “fault-based public nuisance offence for what obviously will include non-violent protest behaviour, with a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment”.


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