UK Newswire Archive
Activist speech on the Ratcliffe Trials currently being held at Nottingham Crown Court
Sophie Stevens speaking at the climate rally 4 Dec 2010
10-12-2010 22:09We present the public investigation of extremely cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners by a person who became a deputy in Russia. Our witness is a hippy and anarchist from Czech Republic. He was sent to a prison camp in Soviet Union for distribution of the Declaration of Human Rights.
9 December 2010
Miss Felicity Gerry for the prosecution begins her speech to the jury.
She says the actions of these defendants was not necessary but unreasonable and hence criminal in character. Throughout much of the trial, the evidence and facts have been agreed by both sides.
On the 13 April 2009, police prevented a large scale aggravated trespass that was to have taken place at Ratcliffe Power Station. It was not necessary to carry out this action since in a free and democratic society, many other methods are available. Direct action was not a necessity but a choice, a main object of which was to highlight issues and actions to the media. You’ve heard that the action cost £15,000. I ask you to image what that money could have bought in public engagement. An iPhone application, celebrity endorsements, an air ticket to Cancún, Mexico.
She agrees that the science presented was all correct. There is little dispute that the world is getting warmer and that the causes are man-made. It’s not for the jury to decide if these changes are in fact man-made or a produce of the natural cycles of the earth. The public need to be reasonably informed, but these defendants chose not to take this course.
Miss Gerry says that this action was not about saving carbon emissions but about publicity and hence was not reasonable or necessary. There was no necessity for this action. She sits down.
For the defence, Mr Edward Rees QC begins his speech to the jury. He says, the principle issues in this case, it’s about if the defendants conduct was unlawful. Further, whether in the absence of any violence on their part, their actions were criminal. We say that their intended conduct was necessary in all the circumstances. It is for the prosecution to prove that their conduct was not necessary to gain their conviction. This is the burden of proof and is so in all trials. Our law does make an allowance for necessity in action.
Mr Rees mentions the Suffragette movement. Recounting a conversation with prosecution counsel earlier, she had said that those defendants were a ‘load of wimps’ next to the Suffragette example. They would have thrown themselves at the chimneys with skirts billowing!! He invites the jury to remember that this was happening not so long ago. It seems ridiculous to us now that women didn’t have the vote. Looking back, future generations would look kindly on these people and their actions.
A large and expensive police operation that must have been planned much earlier and must have been intelligence lead in character. Therefore, with this advance notice, why didn’t the police or the company obtain an injunction to prevent any action? You’ve heard about the police breaking down doors of the school and refusing people the facility to repair and tidy the premises. A complete inversion on what you might have expected.
Returning to the core word ‘reasonableness’. Action need to be proportionate to the threat perceived. This of course will vary to the circumstances. The jury will want to know, what is the test of this? If attacked, defensive action would be self-defence and thus a person would be not guilty. Likewise, if a person thought he was going to be attacked and that thought was in the circumstances, reasonable. Again, in those circumstances, he would be not guilty.
Mr Rees says that the prosecution say that the action was not necessary since the defendants knew emissions wouldn’t have been saved. This hare was set running by Mr Smith, the Ratcliffe Station Manager in his evidence. They produce no evidence about this. The fact was that coal stations were already running. So it is in fact true that the more efficient [if expensive] gas-fired might be the ones to have been started up to compensate. Thus, the defendants did reasonably believe that a net saving of emissions would have resulted from their action. They did believe this and hence their actions were reasonable.
Consider the evidence of Dr. Hassen from NASA, contending that due to emissions, species were being lost and his descriptions of human distress. The Stern Review refers to economic and social costs and being the authorities in their subject that they are, the defendants reasonably believed this. All the expert evidence in this trial only adds to the weight of evidence and concern. All seams to suggest that immediate action is required. Amazingly, we are now burning more coal than in 1998. In 2007, Ratcliffe Power Station emitted 9.3 million and a year later in 2008 had increased to 9.9 tons.
Right at the heart of this case and the necessity of action is the notion of ‘tipping points’. There remains no agreement on what’s to be done. There is simply no political will to reduce emissions,
The prosecutions idea of knocking on doors to convey their concern, simply to inform the public locally … it’s nowhere near enough to deal with such continued emissions. The prosecution says they haven’t engaged with the political process. But they have! They have done it all. No political change. No international agreement. ‘Business as usual’ remains the position. The defendants therefore remain pessimistic about any change without the need to deliver a good kick. He ridicules the prosecutions idea that going to Copenhagen to argue with American Republicans or to create a catchy slogan to illustrate climate change to the Chinese would have changed anything.
Energy Companies have a legal duty to their shareholders to maximise profits. This is not balanced by government insisting on emission reductions from their activities. Profit being the prime motive in their operations, energy companies including E-on, have abandoned carbon capture experiments because they say they’re uneconomic.
Mr Rees says he has some experience of coal as he and his wife come from the South Wales valleys. The slag heaps are no longer there and those communities have gone. But in opposition to what you might perceive as a lack of the coal industry production, coal burning at Ratcliffe and others is in fact rising. Cheap imported coal is what is now getting burned. With international politics, Middle East situations and oil price rising etc … coal burning will continue to rise. The commercial imperative is driving the market. ‘Business as usual’.
In contrast to politicians rhetoric and the associated lack of action, these people actually did something about it. Without targets being set, there is simply no foreseeable action to be taken by governments and companies. The limited progress of the conferences at Cancún, Mexico happening now is showing us this. These defendants are genuinely concerned. If that is so, it is proper to think you have to do something about it. Alternatively, is it in our experience of society that we should trust our betters or political representatives to take actions for us?
People had tried so many democratic means to express their concerns. But ‘business as usual’ has continued. Would they have achieved more reductions in emissions had they tried any other means?
This was not the jolly that the prosecution have tried thought this trial to suggest.
Mr Rees has finished all presentations for the defence, and sits down.
His Honour Judge Teare now sums up the case for the jury. He started by saying that on waking up on that day and hearing on the radio of the arrest of the 114 people at Iona School in Nottingham … I wondered what poor devil is going to have to try this case Grins all round again.
You the jury are to decide the fact of the case, I am the judge and you must follow my directions on the law. The prosecution must prove the case referring to the indictment. Now, there is no dispute that they were going to commit aggravated trespass. But, they say, they were justified in that action by necessity. If you conclude, the defendants believed this, even mistakenly, then, they are not guilty. They must act responsibly and proportionately in all the circumstances. In deciding that, a crime may have been committed, but consider if their actions were reasonable and proportionate in preventing harm.
The case it to be considered by you against each of the defendants, individually. Reach a verdict on which you are all agreed on all. But if you can’t then we go through a process for each of them.
The Judge mentions that the trial is taking place at an inopportune time, with much press discussion of the Cancún, Mexico talks. You are to put all that out of your mind and try the defendant on the evidence presented in this case.
With respect to the defendants ‘No Comment’ replies, during police interviews, the Judge says this should not be held against them. They had solicitors advice contained in the ‘bust card’ that all had read. As this advises ‘No Comment’ replies, he says the jury should not draw any inference from that silence.
Judge then went on to an extensive reminder of the facts of the case.
The jury will retire tomorrow ….. and hence the case continues.
2010 Nottingham Ratcliffe Conspiracy Trial Begins [Feature]
2010 Nottingham Ratcliffe conspiracy to trespass trial opens today
2010 Nottingham Ratcliffe Trial Day 2 - Prosecution’s Opening
2010 Nottingham Ratcliffe Trial Day 3 - Prosecution case continues
2010 Nottingham Ratcliffe Trial: Prosecution Opens [Feature 2]
2010 Nottingham Ratcliffe Trial Day 4 - Prosecution case concludes
2010 Nottingham Ratcliffe Trial Day 5 – Defence case opens
2010 Nottingham Ratcliffe Trial Day 6 – The Defence Continues
2010 Nottingham Ratcliffe Trial Day 7 ‘Snowed off’
2010 Nottingham Ratcliffe Trial Day 8 – Defence Calls MP's
2010 Nottingham Ratcliffe Trial Day 9 – Defence Calls More Experts
2010 Nottingham Ratcliffe Trial Day 10 – Defence Calls more Defendants
2010 Nottingham Ratcliffe Trial Day 11 - Defence Concludes its Case
Ratcliffe on Trial Blog http://ratcliffeontrial.org/blog
Onwards ... >
Photographer - Media: One Eye on the Road. Nottingham. UK
Member of the National Union of Journalists [NUJ]
"It is not enough to curse the darkness.
It is also necessary to light a lamp!!"
The jury will not be delivering any verdict until next week. Having spent the day deliberating, they have been released until Monday when the court expects to hear whether the defendants have been found guilty or not guilty.
Court was reconvened twice during the day, in order to answer questions emerging from the jury room. The first concerned the details of evidence given by former Nottingham MP Alan Simpson about EU directives. The second concerned defining exactly which lives the defendants needed to be protecting in order to justify their actions being necessary in law. The judge explained that the lives did not need to be local to the power station or Nottingham, but could be anywhere in the world. The trial has heard factual evidence from people suffering from the worst excesses of climate change, in locations ranging from Hull to Bangladesh.
The jury will return to court at 10am on Monday, along with our defendants, when they will continue their task.
In the meantime, check out this video from last week’s climate march in London. It shows one of the people arrested prior to the action, but not charged, telling a crowd of thousands why such action is so important. Inspiring stuff!
A vigil has held outside Charing Cross Hospital this afternoon after student Alfie Meadows underwent a three hour operation to relieve pressure and bleeding on his brain after being hit by police at the demonstration in parliament square.
The Middlesex University student fell unconscious on the way to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where he underwent a three-hour operation to save his life.
Meadows, a participant in yesterday’s fee protests, was part of a large group that had been “kettled” — rounded up indiscriminately and confined by police. When he attempted to leave the kettle with a group of friends — including two sympathetic professors — he suffered a blow to the head from a police baton.
According to his mother, who was also present at the protest, he is now conscious and able to speak, though she said he is expected to be hospitalized "for quite a while."
Kingston Guardian said:
A university professor was prevented from taking to hospital a student who suffered serious head injuries at last night's tuition fees protest.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission has begun an independent investigation into an allegation the 20-year-old was hit by a poice truncheon.
Peter Hallward, a Kingston University philosophy lecturer, said police refused to let him accompany Alfie Meadows out of the police cordon around Parliament Square.
Below is a pic from the vigil/demo held today and a few pics of other injuries.
Alfie Meadows was one of the 44 protestors who were taken to hospital by the ambulance service yesterday. A much larger number were injured during the day which saw mass kettling by the police and violent attacks early on by police trying to stop students and protestors assembling in Parliament Square, and then from leaving the Square.As reported earlier a student from Manchester had her collar bone broken by police, and there were various reports of unconscious people and other hospitalisations due to head injuries. Press were also directly targeted by some police officer for beatings and some officers went after cameras trying to smash them.
10-12-2010 20:22Tuesday 14 December, 7pm Better Food Company, Sevier Street, St Werburghs, Bristol
Next week's freeskilling is the final freeskill of the year - and what better way to end than with laughter?
Joe Hoare has offered to lead a laughter workshop, so come along and prepare for the season's festivities, get those laughter muscles working and have a good hearty laugh.
A bit about Joe - Joe has been running laughter workshops for over 14 years, his work features regularly in the media and his work on cardiovascular health is used by the Open University. He founded the Bristol Laughter Club, which is now the UK’s longest-running series of laughter workshops and also organised the UK’s 1st National Sponsored ‘Laugh-a-thon’ for the British Heart Foundation. Joe is a director of the Pierian Centre and a longtime full healer member of the NFSH
Freeskilling is taking a break over Christmas and returns on 4 January.
If you've enjoyed freeskilling sessions this year and would like to share a skill, help organise or introduce future freeskills, or have a skill you'd like to learn, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact the Freeskilling team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Freeskilling is part of the wider freeconomy community. See www.justfortheloveofi.org for more info.
Wishing you all the best for a happy and healthy end to 2010.
On Thursday 9th December, Notts County Unison held a small protest outside County Hall.
The demonstration was timed to coincide with the full council meeting.
Three campaigners were dressed as skeletons to symbolise the "skeleton services" which they fear will be left if the cuts are carried out.
There was also a cardboard box covered in brown paper, presumably intended to represent a coffin holding the remains of public services in Nottinghamshire.
The lobby was relatively small, but a larger protest is likely next week when the council's cabinet meets to discuss budget proposals and the closure of Gedling School.
David Cameron came to Leeds and was welcomed by around 100 protesters. Just noon he drove into the Shine buisniess centre on Harehills Road to give a talk after being greeted with eggs, boos and graffiti from the night before. Undercover police were deployed but the protest was low key and they never sprang into action.
Scottish Natural Heritage and the organisation Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture have banded together to attempt to capture and remove the free living population of beavers in the River Tay and its tributaries.
At around 11am on Wednesday the 8th of December, nine anti-cuts activists operating under the name Citizens United targeted their fourth bank.
The group slipped swiftly into the West Nile Street branch of HSBC and made an announcement that they were occupying the bank in protest to the poor
10-12-2010 17:47Protesters from a group called UK Save Our Youth Groups are gathering in David Cameron's constituency of Witney, Oxfordshire.
“ Whose streets!? Our streets!!!” - Glasgow students give cops the run around, closing scores of businesses as they went.
At Midday on the Thursday the 9th December, the day that Westminster was looking set to vote in new reforms to bring in hike university fees in England to an obscene ￡9000 a year, students in Glasgow came out to show solidarity and protest cuts to Scottish education spending and the austerity measures