Three Just Stop Oil supporters released after 109 days in prison without trial

Three Just Stop Oil supporters who have been imprisoned without trial since November were granted bail at Southwark Crown Court today. They were among 18 in court charged with conspiracy to cause a public nuisance in connection with the M25 gantry actions in November.  [1]

Ian Bates, Roger Hallam and Karen Matthews were granted bail by Her Honour Judge Spiro, after being imprisoned for up to 109 days without trial. They were released subject to stringent conditions including a 10pm to 7am curfew, not to be within one mile radius of the M25, no contact with other defendants and not to participate in any climate change demonstration. 

Abigail Percy-Ratcliff and Daniel Shaw were also granted bail but must return to prison while they await bail hearings in other cases.  [2]

All of the remaining 13 Just Stop Oil supporters appearing today had spent time on remand last year and some were subsequently required to wear electronic tags and made subject to a curfew. Today the Judge questioned the prosecution on the need for the tagged curfew for Cressida Gethin saying: 

“ How is that going to stop what she’s doing? She will need to live and sleep at her residence, but she’s aged twenty-one, her trial is June 2024. It’s not proportionate, she needs to lead a normal life. If this was any other offence the crown would not impose such a stringent condition on someone who is twenty-one.”

Some of those appearing today were pre-emptively arrested in police raids at their homes after attending a Zoom call in which a Sun journalist Scarlet Howes was present. The Sun alleged it had “infiltrated” the public meeting and boasted of tipping off the police and enabling National Highways to secure a public injunction.[3]

In addition to applying for bail, several of the supporters, including Roger Hallam, filed to have their cases dismissed. The judgement is expected later today or tomorrow.

A spokesperson for Just Stop Oil said: 

“Under British law we are innocent until proven guilty and yet the state continues to lock up innocent people for months on end without trial. These are the same people that juries are acquitting time and time again as they nonviolently resist the government’s genocidal plans to grant more oil and gas licences. Meanwhile those who are planning the carbon death project are rewarded with the biggest profits in UK corporate history. What will it take for you to join us?”

Jan Goodey, 57, a Just Stop Oil supporter from Brighton remains the only person to have served a prison sentence for taking part in the action on the M25 motorway in November. He was released in January after serving 48 days of a six month sentence. [4]

Three more Just Stop Oil supporters Anthony Whitehouse, Arne Springorum and Alfie Beswick also pleaded guilty to the charge of public nuisance in relation to the M25 actions and received six month sentences suspended for two years.

Since the Just Stop Oil campaign launched on the 14th February 2022, there have been over 2,000 arrests and 138 people have spent time in prison, the vast majority without trial. There are currently four Just Stop Oil supporters and one Insulate Britain supporter in prison whilst awaiting trial or serving sentences for actions taken with the campaigns.[5]

We stand with these five supporters in prison, 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.[6][7]

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. 


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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] Abigail Percy Ratcliffe will appear at Guildford Crown Court on 23 February for a bail hearing in connection with an M25 gantry action in August. Daniel Shaw will appear at Lewes Crown Court on 24 February for a bail application in relation to an Insulate Britain action at Dover. 

[3] Gloating government propaganda in the Sun:

[4] Jan was arrested after climbing a gantry at junction 16 on the 7th November and charged with intentionally or recklessly causing a public nuisance. After entering a guilty plea he was sentenced to 6 months, of which he served 48 days. The magistrate spoke of wanting to use his sentencing as a ‘deterrent’ against further disruption of ordinary people going about their “lawful business”.

[5] Link to Guardian article from Feb 7th-

[6]  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. 

[7] 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.