Just Stop Oil Supporters who Disrupted the Grand Prix at Silverstone Found Guilty

Six Just Stop Oil supporters have been found guilty in relation to disrupting the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The Just Stop Oil supporters were demanding that the government halt licensing and consents for the development of any new fossil-fuel projects in the UK. [1] 

Louis McKechnie, David Baldwin, Emily Brocklebank, Alasdair Gibson, Bethany Mogie, and Joshua Smith appeared before Mr Justice Garnham at Northampton Crown Court, accused of Causing a Public Nuisance. The Just Stop Oil supporters peacefully sat down on the Formula 1 track at Silverstone on the 3rd of July 2022, shortly after the race had been halted in the aftermath of a collision. [2]

During the trial, the Just Stop Oil supporters told jurors how they had studied the Formula 1 rulebook and footage of previous races, to ensure the action was as safe as possible. The defendants described how they had planned to elicit a ‘red flag,’ knowing that this would halt race conditions, alerting drivers and marshals to their presence within seconds. 

The court heard how the Just Stop Oil supporters sat on an area of the track, away from the ‘racing-line’ that F1 cars follow, as the final vehicles slowly returned to the pits. Witnesses explained how race circuit staff had been given the ‘all-clear’ before proceeding to remove them from the track.

Louis Mckechnie was imprisoned at HMP Peterborough from the 3rd July 2022, for over 212 days, without trial. Joshua Smith has recently been released on bail, after serving 170 days in prison, without trial. All other defendants have been electronically tagged and under house-arrest with various curfews since the incident.

Speaking to the jury during the proceedings, one of the defendants Bethanie Mogie, 40, a mum of four from Hertfordshire said:

“You may think that we don’t have much in common, but I think it’s easy to see what we do have in common, more than what sets us apart. Because, at the end of the day, we are all the same – we are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters and we love our families.” 

“To love is to protect and I hope you can see that’s what we set out to do that day at Silverstone. I would never take part in something that could hurt anyone – none of us could.”

Mr Justice Garnham ruled that the defendants had no defence in law, and that the jury must not take into account the defendants’ motivations in reaching their verdict. Ms Mogie spoke about the number of children Unicef says are at risk from the climate crisis and continued:

“You saw me get very upset last week because I do think our motivations are relevant, and I don’t want to live in a world where children dying is not considered relevant.”

After three days of deliberation the jury found all six Just Stop Oil supporters guilty, sentencing shall be on the 31st March 2022. All six remain tagged and on bail and are forbidden from speaking to the press.

The result comes the same week that an Insulate Britain supporter, David Nixon, a 36 year old care-worker from Barnsley, has been sentenced to eight weeks in prison, simply for mentioning fuel poverty and the climate crisis in court.

Since the Just Stop Oil campaign began on April 1st 2022, there have been over 2,000 arrests and 138 people have spent time in prison, many without trial. There are currently seven Just Stop Oil supporters in prison awaiting trial or serving sentences for actions taken with the campaign.

We stand with these seven political prisoners, with the 1,800 victims of our broken criminal justice system imprisoned for over a year without trial and with the 1,700 murdered across the global south, for protecting all our lives. This is the moment for us to come together and resist the destruction of everything we love, something that is being imposed on us by a few, who only seek to enrich themselves.

We’re done with begging. We are going to stop new fossil fuel projects whether those in power agree or not. As citizens, parents and children, we have every right under British law to protect ourselves and those we love. 

We are the last generation who can solve this. Will you step up? Join us and Just Stop Oil. [3][4]


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Notes to Editors

[1] Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working together to demand that the government immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK. Just Stop Oil is a member of the A22 Network of civil resistance projects. Climate Emergency Fund is Just Stop Oil’s primary funder for recruitment, training, and capacity building.

[2] Press release from 3rd July 2022: https://juststopoil.org/2022/07/03/just-stop-oil-supporters-invade-the-track-at-silverstone-disrupting-the-british-grand-prix/

[3] Fair Trials reports that the number of people being held in prison without trial in England and Wales is at its highest for over 50 years, with 1,800 people in prison without trial for at least a year.

[4] A recent report from Global Witness says that more than 1,700 people have died while trying to prevent mining, oil drilling or logging on their lands.