Three XR members who stopped a DLR train at Shadwell station were lawfully exercising their right to peaceful protest, a jury has found.
Reverend Sue Parfitt, 79 Father Martin Newell, 54, and Phil Kingston, 85, were all found not guilty of obstructing trains or carriages on the railway under the malicious damages act.
None of the Shadwell 3 denied their part in the action – Sue and Martin climbed on top of the train and Phil sat on the platform and glued himself to the outside.
Their defence was that they were exercising their rights to protest under the Human Rights Act and that the protest was lawful.
The three, all also members of Christian Climate Action, each told the jury they were compelled by their faith to take action to protect God’s creation and prevent run-away climate change.
During the trial at Inner London Crown Court, the jury was presented with a set of facts, agreed on by both the defence and the prosecution, about the escalating climate crisis.
These agreed facts included that: “Climate change is a clear and imminent threat to human civilisation. It has become increasingly widely recognised that immediate substantial action needs to be taken in order to stabilise the climate at a temperature in which we can avoid massive and widespread loss of life”.
The jury also heard that the action, to halt a train travelling at speed to Bank station, the heart of London’s financial district, was designed to symbolise how business as usual must be stopped from driving human civilisation to destruction – activating the train’s emergency alarm was analogous to sounding the alarm on the climate crisis.
In December, six XR members, the DLR “Canaries”, were also found not guilty of the same offence during an action at Canary Wharf station in April 2019.
Zoë Blackler from Extinction said: ”When a jury hears the truth about the escalating climate crisis, with the depth and seriousness they won’t get from the government or the media, they understand the urgent need to act.
“The real criminals here aren’t 3 committed Christians who are risking their liberty to sound the alarm on a threat of existential proportions. The real crime lies with a government failing to do what’s necessary to safeguard the future of the human race.”
Full press release to follow. For more information call Zoe on 07918 165046
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