Just Stop Oil Supporters who disrupted the Grand Prix at Silverstone spared jail sentences

Six Just Stop Oil supporters who disrupted the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, were spared jail today. 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]

The Just Stop Oil supporters were sentenced by Mr Justice Garnham at Northampton Crown Court, after being convicted of causing a public nuisance, in relation to peacefully sitting on the Formula 1 track at Silverstone on the 3rd of July 2022. [2]

Louis McKechnie, who was previously remanded for 212 days, has been sentenced to 12 months, suspended for 2 years and given a community service order. Josh Smith, who was previously remanded for 170 days, was sentenced to community service. Alisdair Gibson and David Baldwin were each given a community service order. Emily Brocklebank and Bethany Mogie have each been sentenced to 6 months, suspended for 2 years. 

Speaking before sentencing Louis McKechnie, 22, a mechanical engineering student from Weymouth said:

“I recently spent seven months in prison, without trial, for taking non-violent action, to protect my generation and save lives. Every year the government approves new fossil fuel projects and every year they impose new laws criminalising those who might speak up.”

“Prison is not the end of the world; inaction on the climate emergency is. Top scientific reports state that the government’s current targets will result in the death of billions. My generation is being marched into a slaughterhouse and imprisoned if we speak up about it. We deserve better!”

Speaking before sentencing Emily Brocklebank, 24, a psychology student from Leeds said:

“During the trial we spoke of our careful planning and of Formula One’s own safety measures, so despite the action being perceived as dramatic, it was safe. In order to achieve media attention you must, at times, create visually striking images in order to communicate your message.”

“Although It feels very strange to sit in the glass box waiting to be sentenced, it is doubly surreal that it is not the government that is waiting to be judged for ignoring both the science, and their commitments in law to prevent climate breakdown.”

Another of those sentenced today, David Baldwin, 47, a former Health and Safety officer from Oxfordshire and a father of two, said:

“In the words of the United Nations Secretary General: We need disruption to end the destruction.”

“As a father, I will do everything in my power to ensure our corrupt government proves their integrity and deals with the climate emergency with the urgency it requires. I will not watch quietly as they gamble my children’s future to protect fossil fuel profiteers.”

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.

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 two Just Stop Oil supporters in prison awaiting trial or serving sentences for actions taken with the campaign.

We stand with these 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. [3][4]

In moments of emergency, we must be brave, we must stand for good over evil, life over death, right over wrong. We cannot stand by and watch while our rights and freedoms and everything we love is being destroyed. It’s time to pick a side. Either you are actively supporting civil resistance fighting for life or you are complicit with genocide.

Join us in civil resistance on a slow march around the streets of London from April 24th. [5]


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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.

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