Court clears Greta Thunberg and climate activists of charged offenses from London protest

Judge Laws said at the conclusion of the case on Feb. 2 at Westminster magistrates court "that the crown had failed to present enough evidence to prove their case."

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Image Credit: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

A judge ruled against prosecution clearing Greta Thunberg and four others charged with public order offenses during a protest in London. Thunberg, Christofer Kebbon, Joshua James Unwin, Jeff Rice and Peter Barker were all charged with “failing to comply with a condition imposed under section 14 of the Public Order Act.”

Judge Laws said at the conclusion of the case on Feb. 2 at Westminster magistrates court “that the crown had failed to present enough evidence to prove their case,” The Guardian reported.

The protesters were arrested after an officer “enacted the section 14 order” claiming they has blocked access to and from the InterContinental hotel in Mayfair, where the Energy Intelligence Forum (EIF) was taking place.

But laws said the protest outside the hotel was “throughout peaceful, civilized and non-violent” and that the conditions to which the protesters were ordered were “so unclear that it is unlawful”, which meant “anyone failing to comply were actually committing no offense,” The Guardian reported.

“It is quite striking to me that there were no witness statements taken from anyone in the hotel, approximately 1,000 people, or from anyone trying to get in. There was no evidence of any vehicles being impeded, no evidence of any interference with emergency services, or any risk to life.”

Raj Chada, who represented Thunberg, Kebbon and Unwin, argued that his clients were not briefed on the details of section 14 order by the arresting officers. The officers failed to “properly communicate the details of the condition placed on the protest” and gave “incorrect details of the location to which the order redirected protesters,” Chada argued in a report from The Guardian.

“It is unclear as to what the condition was or what was communicated, and so what the defendants should know or didn’t know; and so the prosecution case fails at this stage,” Chada said.

The judge cleared the protesters of all public order offenses and granted Chada’s request for his legal fees and Thunberg’s travel costs be paid by the government.

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