Judge admits climate crisis will ‘affect everyone’ as he convicts two

Two Just Stop Oil supporters have been convicted of obstruction of the highway and a further four have been acquitted of the same charge yesterday. 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]

Cressida Gethin and Catherine Cannon appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates Court before District Judge Lower, in relation to disrupting oil distribution out of Navigator Terminal, the largest oil terminal in the country, on the 3rd April 2022. Each have been sentenced to a six month conditional discharge. [2]

In his final summation, Judge Lower admitted that the climate crisis will affect “not only those in this courtroom, but everyone on the planet.”

Speaking after her trial Cressida Gethin, 21, a music student from Herefordshire, said:

“Today, I leave Chelmsford Magistrates on the same day the IPCC releases the final part of their sixth assessment report, which states categorically, it is ‘now or never.’ By the time the next report is released, on current trajectories, we will have passed the 1.5 degree threshold set in law as the safe limit for our species.”

“I have been taken to court and criminalised for trying to stop this, and the absolute atrocities that it entails- the worst period of human suffering the world has ever known. Meanwhile, world governments and fossil fuel corporations are walking free, whilst wilfully ignoring the science and facilitating this appalling crime against humanity.”

Also appearing at City of London Magistrates Court yesterday was David Nixon, who was recently released, after being imprisoned for speaking about the climate crisis and cost of living crises in court. He was joined by Cllr Dr Felicity Rice, Rachel Bosler, and Gilbert Murray. Judge Snow, presiding, deemed any disruption was proportional when factoring the scale of the climate crisis. All have been acquitted of obstructing traffic on Kensington High Street, in London, on 29th Oct 2022. [3]

Dr Felicity Rice, 41, a Councillor for Poole, said:

‘As a councillor I have a responsibility to warn residents about the likelihood of homes being flooded, food insecurity and the whole of Bournemouth and Poole beaches being washed away due to sea level rise. I can’t just stand by and let that happen without trying to create positive change, which needs to include this government.”

“We have declared a climate emergency, yet the council continues with policies as if everything is ok, which is simply untrue.”

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, many without trial. There are currently two Just Stop Oil supporters and two Insulate Britain supporters in prison whilst awaiting trial or serving sentences for actions taken with the campaigns.

We stand with these four 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. [4] [5]

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] Link to press release from 3rd April ’22- https://juststopoil.org/2022/04/03/just-stop-oil-blocks-critical-oil-facilities-for-the-third-day-in-a-row-demanding-an-end-to-new-oil-and-gas/

[3] Link to press release from 29th October ’22- https://juststopoil.org/2022/10/29/day-29-just-stop-oil-supporters-stop-traffic-in-central-south-and-west-london/

[4]  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.

[5] 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.