QEII Bridge climbers trial begins at Basildon Crown Court as Animal Rebellion supporters trial deferred

Two Just Stop Oil supporters who climbed the QEII bridge last October face trial at Basildon Crown Court from today charged with public nuisance, while five Animal Rebellion supporters have their trial deferred. [1] 

Marcus Decker and Morgan Trowland are appearing before Judge Collery after spending over 160 days in prison on remand for climbing the QEII bridge to demand that the government halt licensing and consents for the development of any new fossil-fuel projects in the UK. [2]

The trial is expected to last a week.

A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said:

“We are calling on the legal profession and the judiciary to pick a side. You are either on the side of what is morally right, or you are complicit with a genocidal government that is knowingly taking a course of action that will result in the death and displacement of millions of people.”

“Instead of silencing the voices telling us all what we need to hear, it is time to join your colleagues in taking a stand for what is right, and for you to refuse to be an accessory to the greatest crime in human history.”

Meanwhile, supporters of Animal Rebellion who were due to appear at Southwark Crown Court today have been granted a reprieve. Their trial was delayed until 7th February 2024 after the Crown Prosecution Service failed to provide evidence. They are charged with criminal damage valued over £5000, for actions taken at Buckingham Palace in August 2021. [3]

Orla Coghlan, 28, a children’s nurse and spokesperson for Animal Rebellion said:

“The fact that honest, good people are still being prosecuted a week after the latest IPCC report warned of catastrophic climate breakdown is utterly ludicrous. The need for action on the climate and ecological emergencies has never been more urgent and the solutions are right in front of us. Transitioning to a plant-based food system and renewables, over an archaic loyalty to animal farming and fossil fuels, is a no-brainer.”

Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a Synthesis of their Sixth Assessment Report, which states it is ‘now or never’ to act on the climate crisis and limit global warming to 1.5C. By the time the next report is released, in five to seven years time, on current trajectories, the 1.5 degree threshold set in law as the safe limit for humanity, will have been surpassed. [4]

On Friday, 120 leading lawyers released a ‘Declaration of Conscience’ announcing they would “withhold [their] services in respect of supporting new fossil fuel projects and action against climate protesters exercising their right of peaceful protest.” The declaration follows numerous incidents of Insulate Britain supporters being imprisoned for simply mentioning the climate and cost of living crises in court. [5]

Since the Just Stop Oil campaign launched on the 14th of 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 in prison whilst awaiting trial or serving sentences for actions taken with the campaigns. Two Insulate Britain supporters were released today.

We stand with our 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]

In moments of emergency, we must stand up and be brave, we must stand up for good over evil, life over death, right over wrong. Just Stop Oil is calling on everyone to pick a side. Either you are actively supporting civil resistance fighting for life or you are complicit with genocide. The time is now. Join us and slow march while you still can. Our indefinite campaign of civil resistance begins on April 24th in London and will not end until our government ends new oil and gas. [8]


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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 October 17th 2022 https://juststopoil.org/2022/10/17/day-17-just-stop-oil-supporters-defy-gravity-by-climbing-the-qe2-bridge-forcing-police-to-close-the-bridge/ 

[3] Link to press release from 26th August 2021 https://animalrebellion.org/animal-and-climate-protestors-dye-buckingham-palace-fountains-blood-red/ 

[4] https://report.ipcc.ch/ar6syr/pdf/IPCC_AR6_SYR_SPM.pdf 

[5] https://planb.earth/leading-lawyers-refuse-to-prosecute-just-stop-oil/

[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.

[8] Sign up to join Just Stop Oil supporters on a slow march this Spring: https://juststopoil.org/