Caroline Lucas cleared of anti-fracking protest charges, Green MP and four co-defendants found not guilty of obstructing public highway and public order offences during protests by Caroline Davies, April 17, 2014, The Guardian
As she and four co-defendants walked free from court, she said: “The action we took was for all of our futures” as she pledged to continue to fight against fracking. Lucas, 53, the MP for Brighton Pavilion, was among a group of protesters who had linked arms outside energy company Cuadrilla’s exploratory oil drilling site in Balcombe, West Sussex, in August.
During the trial at Brighton magistrates court alongside four co-defendants, she said she “wanted to express solidarity” by protesting peacefully. She was found not guilty of the two charges she faced – wilful obstruction of a public highway and breaching an order under section 14 of the Public Order Act.
In a statement read from the court steps, Lucas said: “We are very pleased that the court upheld our right to peacefully protest against fracking. Protest is the lifeblood of democracy.
We are deeply concerned that the right to protest is being eroded and undermined, with legitimate protest criminalised by oppressive policing in an attempt to silence dissent.
“This judgment is right but is not a cause for celebration. We will continue to campaign to end fracking and only celebrate when our world is on the path of a clean energy future.”
“Fracking will not lower our fuel bills. It will not give us energy security and it will not create significant numbers of jobs.”
She added: “Fracking will accelerate climate change and pollute our environment.” It would lead to “yet more dependence on fossil fuel precisely when the overwhelming scientific and political consensus confirms that we need to move urgently in the opposite direction.
“Now more than ever David Cameron must listen to the climate scientists rather than letting oil and gas industry lobbyists dictate UK energy policy. He needs to show real leadership by calling for an immediate end to fracking.”
Co-defendants – Josef Dobraszczyk, 22, from Bristol; Ruth Jarman, 50, from Hook, Hampshire; Sheila Menon, 42, from north east London; and Ruth Potts, 39, from Totnes, Devon – were also cleared of both charges. [Emphasis added]