Eleven anti-fracking protestors acquitted of all charges

Monday 13 January 2014

Eleven anti-fracking activists have been acquitted after a three-day trial at Brighton Magistrates' Court.

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The defendants were all charged with obstruction of the highway, and one defendant was charged with assaulting a police officer, during the anti-fracking protests in Balcombe last summer. The demonstrations were in response to the fact that Cuadrilla, an energy company, were preparing to drill for shale gas reserves in Sussex.

All defendants were acquitted because the protest was deemed a reasonable use of the highway and the assault was not proven as the officer was fundamentally undermined by filmed footage of the incident. As he delivered his verdict, the District Judge said that it had been a particularly "dignified protest."

Shahida and Stephen were instructed by Teresa Blades of Kellys Solicitors.

Shahida is a member of Garden Court Chambers Crime Team, and Stephen is currently a third-six pupil. Maryam Mir, formerly a third-six pupil at Garden Court, was also co-defending.

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