Judge finds Just Stop Oil Ritz roadblock was lawful in face of climate crisis

Four Just Stop Oil supporters were acquitted of obstruction of the highway on Monday after a Judge declared they had a lawful excuse for their actions. 

The four supporters had taken part in a roadblock at Piccadilly on 26th October 2022 to demand that the government halt all licensing and consents for the development of any new fossil fuel projects in the UK. [1]

Clara O’Callahan, Ella-Rose Paez, Julia Redman and Bethon Roberts appeared before Judge Bone at Stratford Magistrates Court on Monday 27th November, accused of wilful obstruction of the highway in relation to peacefully blocking Piccadilly near Green Park Tube station last October. [2]

Finding no evidence of ‘significant disruption’ Judge Bone delivered a not-guilty verdict. Addressing the defendants the Judge commented that the ‘issues’ being protested about were of high importance to the public. 

One of those acquitted on Monday, Clara O’Callaghan, 20, Cybersecurity student in Edinburgh, said:

“I took action with Just Stop Oil a year ago to peacefully protest the government’s genocidal actions in granting more licences. Regardless of the outcome of this trial, the truth is clear – new oil and gas is genocide. In the last year, thousands have died in climate-related extreme weather events. How many more people will be forced to suffer in the next year, and the next? When politics is broken, I believe it is a moral obligation to continue in civil resistance against a genocidal government.”

Also acquitted Monday, Julie Redman, 72, grandmother, said:

“I am 72 and have 7 grandchildren. I have never had to face threats to life, but as the climate catastrophe unfolds I am haunted knowing they shall face droughts, wildfires, floods, famine, storms, war and may be forced to flee their homes as the climate catastrophe unfolds. I want to be able to tell my grandchildren that I did everything I could to prevent this catastrophe. “

Monday’s not guilty verdict follows the acquittal earlier in November of nine other Just Stop Oil supporters in relation to the same roadblock. On the 22nd of November, Adrian Johnson, Sarah Ath, Rosie Bowyers and Daniell Cole were also acquitted by Judge Bone at Stratford Magistrates court on the basis that a conviction would be disproportionate. 

In a defence statement, Adrian Johnson, 57, former Deputy Headteacher from Highland Perthshire said:

“I have been brought to court today, but it is the real criminals who should be in the dock who are licensing and promoting new oil and gas. The MET police have been given overwhelming evidence of government crimes against humanity and of genocide yet still refuse to investigate them, while prosecuting ordinary people like myself”


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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.

Just Stop Oil ‘Blue Lights’ policy: our policy is, and has always been, to move out of the way for emergency vehicles with siren sounding and ‘blue lights’ on.

[2] https://juststopoil.org/2022/10/26/day-26-update-just-stop-oil-blocks-piccadilly/