Just Stop Oil supporter given shock six month prison sentence for slow marching

At Manchester Magistrates Court on Thursday 14th December 2023, Judge Mitchell, sentenced a Just Stop Oil supporter to six months in prison for marching in the road after he pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7 of the Public Order Act. [1][2]

Stephen Gingell, 57, a business owner and father of three from Manchester, was arrested on 13th November 2023 in London for peacefully slow marching. Along with 40 others, he spent approximately 30 minutes on a road in North London. Stephen pleaded guilty in November at Wimbledon Magistrates Court, London, and was transferred to Manchester Magistrates court for sentencing.[3]

Speaking last year before taking action with Just Stop Oil, Stephen said:

“I’ve got no choice, I’ve got three lovely children, what future are they going to have? I really fear for their lives”

A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said:

“Section 7 of the Public Order Act 2023, a law drafted by the fossil fuel lobby, was introduced in April by Priti Patel, and covers ‘Interference with the use or operation of key national infrastructure’. It seems this government has now made walking down the road, walking on the public highway an illegal act that is worthy of imprisonment.

“How many fathers will be imprisoned before those planning to kill us are stopped? New oil and gas will see millions upon millions lose their homes, livelihoods and lives. Protected by the government, by failed politicians, by the police, those committing genocide continue to walk free, those protesting the killings are banged up. Whose side are you on?”

A spokesperson from ‘Lawyers are Responsible’, a group of legal professionals, commented:

“This sentence demonstrates the increasingly repressive environment that people find themselves in when they take entirely peaceful action to express concern about the climate and ecological crisis. Our legal system has become completely detached from the real threat to our futures posed by the climate and ecological emergency. People should not be criminalised for standing up for our futures.”


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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://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2023/15/section/7

[3] https://juststopoil.org/2023/11/13/metropolitan-police-overwhelmed-by-slow-march-of-100-just-stop-oil-supporters/