Over 1000 cases set to be dropped against Extinction Rebellion protesters arrested during October’s International Rebellion
November 27, 2019 by Zoe Blackler
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- The Metropolitan Police has admitted to the unlawful use of Section 14 of the Public Order Act during the first week of the October protests, following a threat of further legal action by Extinction Rebellion’s lawyers
- The news follows Extinction Rebellion’s landmark victory in the High Court earlier this month in which the Met’s blanket Section 14 ban from the second week of the International Rebellion was ruled to be an unlawful overreach of Police powers
- Extinction Rebellion now expects police investigations and charges against over 1000 of its activists to be dropped
The Metropolitan Police has admitted to the unlawful use of Section 14 of the Public Order Act during the first week of October’s International Rebellion, following a ‘Letter Before Action’ sent by lawyers on behalf of Extinction Rebellion.
This morning, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) informed scores of Extinction Rebellion protesters already charged with breaching Section 14 orders during both weeks of the International Rebellion that their cases will be discontinued. Police investigations against hundreds of others are also expected to be dropped.
The news follows Extinction Rebellion’s landmark victory in the High Court earlier this month, in which the Met’s blanket Section 14 ban from the second week of the International Rebellion was ruled to be an unlawful overreach of Police powers.
Following the Met’s admission, Extinction Rebellion has today filed an application at the High Court to formally quash the Section 14 order from the first week.
The combination of Extinction Rebellion’s successful judicial review and this concession by the Met (once it has been sealed by the High Court) means that all arrests for Section 14 offences offences between 8 and 18 October 2019 will be considered unlawful.
Tobias Garnett, a human rights lawyer in Extinction Rebellion’s Legal Strategy team, said:
“Extinction Rebellion is glad to see that the Met Police and the CPS have recognised the implications of our successful challenge earlier this month. It underlines the need for proper policing that doesn’t waste precious public resources. These admissions of unlawful arrest do not impact on other arrests for criminal damage or related to aviation and railway legislation, for example. But they do affirm that when the people of this country assemble peacefully to demand action on the Climate and Ecological Emergency the law is on our side.”
Martin Marston-Paterson, one of those arrested under the first week’s Section 14 order and a claimant in Extinction Rebellion’s Letter Before Action to the Met regarding that order’s legality, said:
“I am delighted to see that the Met have conceded the illegality of the 8 October Section 14 order in the light of the judgment in Jones. It is to be hoped that the police will, in future, take much greater care to act within the law and to balance the right to protest with their desire for public order”.
Jules Carey of Bindmans LLP who were instructed by Extinction Rebellion said:
“We welcome the Police’s confirmation that they will not dispute the legality of their 8 October Section 14 ban. While we wait for the High Court to formally address the issue, it is now clear that the policing of the Extinction Rebellion protests was a mess: the right to protest was overlooked, police powers were overstepped, and a significant clean-up operation is now required in the criminal justice system to deal with hundreds of cases that should never have been brought”.
Notes for Editors
- According to the Met’s own figures
About Extinction Rebellion:
Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.
Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.
Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:
- Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
- In the UK, come to one of our events, join the Rebellion Network and let us know how you can help out.
- Start a group where you are: in the UK or around the world.
- Find your local group.
- Check out the International XR website, with links to the French, German, Italian and UK websites.
- And while your time and energy are of most importance, if you are financially able to donate money, see our legal crowdfunder.
About Rising Up!
Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.