Just Stop Oil protesters get suspended jail terms after Kingsbury action

·2 min read
Oil depot protest
Demonstrators blocked the main entrance of the Kingsbury Oil Terminal for four-and-a-half hours

Five environmental activists who admitted breaching an injunction by blocking entry to the country's largest oil terminal have been handed suspended sentences.

About 50 Just Stop Oil campaigners were arrested, after sitting across the main entrance of the Kingsbury Oil Terminal, in Warwickshire, on 14 September.

A High Court injunction in April had banned them from doing so.

A civil hearing was told they stopped tankers for four-and-a-half hours.

Sitting at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday, Judge Emma Kelly was told Jerard Latimer, George Oakenfold, Anthony Whitehouse, Chloe Naldrett and Darcy Mitchell were among a group which "stretched" the resources of police involved in the run-up to the Queen's funeral.

The group also stopped a terminal worker leaving to get to a medical appointment, the court heard.

'Tunnelling under roads'

Opening the case for contempt of court, barrister Jonathan Manning said the injunction's purpose was not to prohibit lawful protest, but "simply to prohibit dangerous activities that some protesters have been engaging in".

He listed examples such as as having mobile phones near "the terminals where there's a high risk of explosion" and "tunnelling under roads".

Mr Manning, representing North Warwickshire Borough Council, also said: "Many of the police officers from Warwickshire Police were being used to police the period of national mourning and funeral arrangements for the Queen.

"They had to be brought back from that in order to provide the numbers needed to safely arrest these protesters."

All five defendants admitted breaching the injunction.

Climate crisis

In mitigation, Whitehouse, a pensioner, told the court he would rather be tending to his allotment but felt he had no other choice.

"Even the new King has said we should be on a wartime footing in addressing the climate crisis," he said.

Oakenfold, a retired 78-year-old, said he regretted taking up police and court time but it was "no consequence at all compared to the extreme danger we now find ourselves in due to rising temperatures across the world".

In sentencing, Judge Kelly said: "Simply because of the sheer number of you who had chosen to gather in one place, it created a risk of clearly significant harm should police be needed elsewhere."

The judge jailed each of the protesters for 23 days, but suspended the terms for two years, because it was their "first breach".