21 year old Just Stop Oil supporter released from prison after case dropped

This morning, Just Stop Oil supporter Cressida ‘Cressie’ Gethin, 21, was released from Stratford Magistrates court after spending 23 days on remand at HMP Bronzefield. Cressie’s case was discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service. No reason was given by the judge for this decision, but factors leading to a decision like this can include the arrest being illegal or a lack of evidence. Cressie had taken action in support of Just Stop Oil’s demand that the UK Government halts all new licences for fossil fuels. [1]

She had been charged with Wilful Obstruction of the Highway after taking part in a nonviolent march on the 17th November this year. A group of 20 students and Just Stop Oil supporters were slow marching from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square in central London when they were arrested by a group of 50 Metropolitan Police officers. Cressie was taken to a nearby station to spend the night, before being taken to Westminster Magistrates’s Court where she refused to engage with Judge Brown’s line of questioning, saying “I have a moral duty to remain in resistance given the scale of this crisis”. A transcript is available on the Just Stop Oil website. [2]

Cressie was remanded to HMP Bronzefield for the weekend, before repeating the process at Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday 20th. At this point she was remanded to HMP Bronzefield in Surrey until her trial on 13th December.

At the time of her release today, Cressie remarked: 

“I am very happy to be free, and am unimaginably grateful for the support I received whilst in prison. I stand by the actions I took which led to me being remanded. The government is catastrophically failing to tackle the climate crisis, and at the same time they are stripping away the democratic routes for citizens to hold them accountable.”

“It is up to ordinary people to push back, to resist anti-democratic laws, and try to stop policies that are killing people. If the state wants to imprison me for doing that, they can. They can make up new laws but they cannot crush the integrity of people who follow a moral law and remain true to what is right. Thank you a hundred times over to all the people who wrote to me in prison, many of whom I have never met. I am so, so grateful.”

On Monday the 11th of December, the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case against Cressie and a discontinuation order was sent to Bronzefield Prison for her immediate release. Cressie was held in prison for a further 3 days despite being eligible for release.

A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said:

“Cressie’s imprisonment was illegal and deeply unethical. It perfectly shows the lengths the state will go to criminalise young people just because they’re for a future. Politics is broken – the police are protecting the real criminals and arresting innocent people. This can’t go on. ”

“Last week the Metropolitan Police complained that they had spent £20 million policing Just Stop Oil recently – maybe they should reconsider wasting their resources on illegally locking up young people and instead focus on the breakdown of ordered society that’s a guaranteed side effect of more oil extraction?” 

A bail hearing is scheduled at Southwark Crown Court at 2pm today for Noah Crane, 18. He has been held on remand at HMP Wandsworth for 3 weeks. Yesterday, Morgan Trowland was freed after serving 14 months of a three year sentence he was given this year – the longest sentence in British history for undertaking nonviolent climate action. Morgan undertook this action in service of Just Stop Oil’s demand that the UK Government halts all new licences for fossil fuels in the UK. [3]

Ella Ward, 20, remains in prison without trial, for peacefully marching in the road. Her next court hearing is scheduled for the 27th of December. She is expecting to spend Christmas in prison, as is Marcus Decker who is fighting a deportation order after taking action with Morgan Trowland.  


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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/2023/11/20/a-week-in-resistance-with-cressie/

[3] https://juststopoil.org/2023/12/12/morgan-trowland-released-after-serving-14-months-of-longest-ever-climate-sentence/