Extinction Rebellion protestors cleared of criminal damage to Treasury building

Friday 17 November 2023

Michael Goold, of the Garden Court Chambers Protest Rights Team, was instructed by Jenny Winter of Birds Solicitors.

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Michael Goold represented one of six defendants tried for conspiracy to cause criminal damage at Southwark Crown Court. The alleged offence arose from an Extinction Rebellion action in October 2019 when a fire engine was used to spray the front of the Treasury building in Whitehall with fake blood.

The defendant admitted planning and agreeing to take part in the action which reportedly cost £18,000 to clean up. However, Michael’s client and four of the five co-defendants were acquitted after Michael successfully argued that their beliefs, that anyone who knew the full scale of the climate crisis would have consented to the damage, provided them with a defence of lawful excuse.

The jury could not agree a verdict on the sixth defendant. However, the prosecution subsequently dropped the case against him – and four further co-defendants in a linked trial – following a subsequent review of the case.

The trial lasted some four weeks. Press coverage here.

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