Trial Extended: XR versus Shell in Crown Court – ‘Shell still knows’
April 16, 2021 by Zoe Blackler
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NB. As the defence begins, updates will be posted here.
16 April, London, UK: The jury trial of seven people – including two Extinction Rebellion co-founders – charged with £25K worth of criminal damage at Shell’s London HQ which is currently taking place at Southwark Crown Court in London has been extended to 2-3 weeks.
Now into its fifth day, the defence is due to start its case today. Extinction Rebellion hopes the trial will further the conversation as to who the real criminals are in the context of climate and ecological destruction and resultant biodiversity loss. Jane Augsburger, Simon Bramwell, Ian Bray, Senan Clifford, David Lambert and Sid Saunders have all pleaded ‘not guilty’. They have all chosen to self-represent and are without barristers in the courtroom.
Highlights so far, based on testimony to the jury, includes:
- Discrepancies – The first witness called by the prosecution was Keith Garwood, ‘Asset Protection Manager’ at Shell HQ at the time and a former Detective Superintendent – with a number of discrepancies exposed under his cross-examination.
- Safety – Garwoord initially asserted under oath concern for the safety of people due to possible overload from the two defendants up on the canopy. Yet, this concern was not noted during his ‘on the ground’ record at the time, but added much later in his second statement. He was also seen chatting and behaving in a nonchalant manner, with no visible concern to clear the area – particularly given that there were multiple people were seen milling about, and coming and going underneath the canopy. Also, a police officer who took the stand confirmed that at no point during the proceedings was he made aware of any safety concerns from anyone at Shell.
- Clean up – Garwood said that the company had to return Shell HQ to its “pristine state” after the protest. Under cross examination by defendant Senan Clifford, it was clarified that the ‘CND’’ type symbol was that of the ‘Stop Ecocide’ campaign, a legal movement to create international laws to protect nature. The ‘For Polly’ slogan painted during the protest was for late Polly Higgins,  the lawyer and activist who co-founded the ‘Stop Ecocide’ campaign. Cross examining Senan Clifford asked why Shell prioritised its buildings over nature and considered it a shame that Shell didn’t feel the need to restore Southern Nigeria to its former “pristine state”. Among slogans painted on the Shell building during the protest were ‘Shell Knows’, ‘Shell Knew’, ‘Climate Criminals’ , ‘Lies’, ’Stop Ecoside’ (sic) and ‘For Polly ’.
- Clean Up costs – Under cross examination, despite the bills being presented in evidence, it became unclear exactly how much the damage cost to clean up, as Shell pay £15k a year to a company for cleaning much of the Southbank of graffiti in general. The slogans on the walls and canopy took three attempts to clean, although the porous nature of the stone being a factor in this was acknowledged, which the protestors could not have had prior knowledge of – and had intentionally used as non-damaging materials to the environment and property as they could ascertain. 
The case continues…
For more information please see our previous press release here.
 Stop Ecocide Campaign: https://www.stopecocide.earth
 The materials used by the activists were chalk-based spray paint, molasses mixed with flour – the fake oil – and crayons.
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 increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, and the societal collapse and mass loss of life that that implies. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts.
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 crowdfunder.
About Rising Up!
Extinction Rebellion emerged from 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.