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Judge sentences 18 of Ratcliffe defendants | 05.01.2011 17:01 | Climate Chaos | Energy Crisis | Repression | Sheffield | World

At 2pm today, 18 of the 20 defendants were sentenced after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass in December. The judge addressed each defendant individually, commenting on their previous convictions and the strength of their character, before passing their sentences. The judge spoke broadly about the defendants’ qualities as a whole – commending them for their references, which repeatedly described them as ‘honest’, ‘dedicated’, ‘committed’, ‘intelligent’ and ‘caring’.

The defendants were given a range of sentences, with the majority receiving conditional discharges – a total of 13. These were either 18 month or 2 years in length. 2 of the defendants who were given conditional discharges were ordered to pay costs of £500 and £1000 respectively.

The judge gave the remaining 5 defendants who were present community service orders, stating that this was due to their previous convictions, which he claimed made him unable to pass a more lenient sentence. The community service orders varied between 60 and 90 hours.

The remaining 2 defendants will be sentenced at a later date.

Before they left the dock for the final time, the judge commended the defendants on being some of the most ‘polite’ and ‘punctual’ he had come across.

Upon leaving court, one of the defendants, Claire Witney, gave this statement which was read as follows:

“We are twenty of the 114 who were part of the biggest pre-emptive arrest in British history, as part of the increasing legal drive which prioritises the protection of polluting business, and not people. Post-sentencing, we still feel our actions are a reasonable response to the irrational destructive situation of runaway climate change that we are in. As erratic weather patterns create more disasters, as people continue to choke on fumes and see their houses engulfed in floods, taking action on climate change is no longer an option – it’s a necessity. We want to reiterate our support for everyone everywhere fighting for climate justice.”
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