Two more defiant young people imprisoned without trial for demanding a future

In the last two days, two more brave young people have been remanded to prison after marching on the streets of London to demand a future.

On Thursday, at Willesden Magistrates Court, Ruby Hammill, 19, from South London, was remanded to HMP Bronzefield after vowing to continue in civil resistance. Ruby was arrested and detained earlier in November and given bail conditions to stop protesting. She chose to continue to march. 

In court Ruby said that she would break bail conditions again if she was released so the Judge said they had no choice but to remand her. She is likely to remain in prison until her next court date on 14th December, but could face a sentence of up to a year for the new crime of “interference with key national infrastructure”.

Before marching this week she said:

“We are on course to lose all we know and love. Elsewhere, young people my age face torture for their peaceful resistance to a much more present threat. Our weird, fascist government is indifferent. Our demand is a no-brainer.”

On Friday afternoon, at Highbury Magistrates court, another Just Stop Oil supporter was remanded to prison for slow marching in London, despite the Crown Prosecution Service recommending bail.

Ella Ward, 20, a student at Leeds University was arrested on Thursday for slow marching. They were charged with Wilful Obstruction of the Highway, an offense that carries a maximum potential sentence of six months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both.

The court heard that Ella had broken both police and court bail conditions that prohibited them from joining a slow march, but the Crown Prosecution Service did not recommend remand. They argued that the prospect of a custodial sentence for this offense was low and as Ella had no previous convictions they had no objection to bail. 

The Judge disagreed, saying to Ella:

“As a general rule I rarely listen to defendants but speak to their solicitor, but in this case I need to be sure that you understand if you get bail, and get arrested you will be remanded. I now need to know if you are going to adhere to the conditions?”

Ella responded:

“I’m going to continue in resistance until the government stops committing acts of genocide.”

Ella was remanded to Bronzefield prison, with Judge Brennon saying that they believed Ella would commit further offenses and that there was a real risk they would receive a custodial sentence if found guilty at trial.

Ella will next appear in court via video link to Westminster Magistrates Court at 10am on 24th November, when a  second application for bail will be heard. Ella is committed for trial on 9th Jan 2024 at Stratford Magistrates Court.

These are the people fighting to preserve your ever diminishing right to protest. These are the people sacrificing their liberty to push for the small, narrowing chance that we can bring things back from the brink and stop new oil and gas. How will you respond? We are marching at 12pm, every day from 20th November, meeting at Trafalgar Square. Will you join us?