Three gantry climbers face potential 10 year sentence

Three Just Stop Oil supporters are being sentenced today, after being convicted of public nuisance. The three took action during the 40 degree heatwave in 2022, demanding the UK government halt all new fossil fuel licensing and consents. [1]

Cressie Gethin, a 22-year-old music student from Hereford, along with co-defendants Emma Mani and Alexander Wilcox each face a potential custodial sentence of up to ten years. On 20th July 2022, five Just Stop Oil supporters scaled motorway gantries above the M25, just two days after the government’s net zero strategy was ruled unlawful, and a day after the UK experienced its highest recorded temperature of 40.3 degrees Celsius—a level previously considered impossible. [2] 

Emma Mani and Alexander Wilcox pleaded guilty to the charge of public nuisance. Cressie proceeded to trial, which commenced on 5th February 2024 at Isleworth Crown Court, presided over by Judge Duncan. During the trial, she was prevented from talking about her reasons for taking action and was denied any legal defence by the judge. The jury convicted Cressie Gethin by a majority verdict of ten to two. 

Renowned naturalist and television presenter Chris Packham provided testimony at the trial, where he emphasised on the universality of Cressie’s demand. “It’s not ‘her’ cause – it’s THE cause. I support the need to raise the alarm on the most serious issue that threatens life and threatens us,” he remarked.

Packham had also expressed concerns about the fairness of the proceedings, stating, “I am attending court to support Cressie Gethin because I don’t think she is getting a fair trial. I think, along with the UN, that the UK’s protest laws and sentencing of protesters are unjust, draconian, and in conflict with our basic human rights. I think we are witnesses to disproportionate vindictive witch hunts hell-bent on punishing some of the bravest individuals in society just because they are forced to struggle to tell the truth. These trials are shameful, demeaning, and undemocratic. I set a challenge to the judge, the prosecution, and their witnesses… go home and tell someone you know: a son, daughter, nephew or niece who is under 25 what you have done today and then ask them if they are proud of you.” [3] [4]

Trudi Warner, who recently had her charges of contempt dismissed by the High Court for displaying a placard advocating jury equity, had also been present at Cressie’s trial. Before today’s sentencing, she remarked, “It is very concerning that a thoughtful and principled young person, who should be entitled to a fair trial, was denied any legal defences. Her trial was run in such a way that the jury were not able to hear in full from her, or her chief witness, Chris Packham. Despite this, there were jurors unwilling to convict and who would not be swayed. One wonders what verdict the jury would have reached if they had been able to hear the whole truth.” [5] 

Speaking before her sentencing, Cressie said:

“We are being betrayed by the actions of the UK government. While decision-makers kick the can down the road, while the cost of living rises and oil companies profit, while global heating spirals out of control; it falls on ordinary people to be the ones to say ‘enough is enough.’ 

Either we die quietly, or we stand up to fight for the human right to life. By licensing new oil and gas, the UK government is knowingly causing extreme suffering and mass death. Humanity is so much better than to let ourselves be driven to extinction by the elites – we can stand up and fight against that.”

61,000 excess deaths were recorded across Europe as a result of the extreme heat during the summer of 2022, whilst the UK government continued to licence new oil and gas. It doesn’t have to be this way, sign up for action at [6]


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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.