Guilty verdict in Ratcliffe trial

Tagged as: climate_action environmentalism ratcliffe_on_trial
Neighbourhoods: nottingham ratcliffe
Published by group: GroupNotts Indymedia

After a 3 week trial and 3 days of deliberation for the jury, 20 climate activists were found guilty of conspiring to commit aggravated trespass today. The defendants were amongst 114 activists arrested at a Nottingham school in April 2009, on the verge of taking action to shut down the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. Over the course of the trial the jury heard evidence from a raft of experts including James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists. MPs also testified on the inadequacy of conventional political channels to prevent climate change. The 20 are clear that “Taking action on climate change is not an act of moral righteousness, but of self-defence.”

Newswire: Opening 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Prosecution 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Defence 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | Conclusion 1 | 2 | Verdict 1 | 2 | 3

Previous features: Mass Arrest of 114 Climate Activists in Raid | Ratcliffe Conspiracy Trial Begins | Ratcliffe Trial: Prosecution Opens | Ratcliffe Trial: Week 2


Defendants’ statement

As the UN climate talks finish in Cancun, and fail once again to come up with any legally binding framework to reduce emissions, the British legal system is still upholding business as usual. This can’t continue. Burning coal has no future.

We are twenty of the 114 who were targets of the biggest pre-emptive arrest in UK history, as part of the increasing drive to stifle real action on climate change. We planned not only to stop carbon emissions from Ratcliffe but to be part of a much wider movement for global social justice. Dealing with climate change means looking at its root causes and we need to question why the profits of corporations such as e.on are being prioritised over people on the front line of our changing climate and the protection of our children’s futures.

In the 3 weeks we’ve been on trial over 17,000 people have died from the effects of climate change, species have continued to disappear and a few energy CEOs have continued to line their pockets. It’s the poorest and most vulnerable communities, those least responsible for this crisis, who are being hit the hardest.

Taking action on climate change is not an act of moral righteousness, but of self-defence. History is full of ordinary people who have acted to protect their fundamental rights and we need a strong movement of people doing just that. We want to reiterate our support for everyone fighting for climate justice.

We want to thank everyone for the amazing amount of solidarity we have received during this process from within Nottingham and beyond. It has been absolutly inspiring. We are keen to publich more information, but obviously need to wait until sentencing on Friday to do this.

Our supporters have been doing an amazing job in making a blog about us and you can check out our website.


Link_go Ratcliffe on Trial



It's a funny word should not feel guilt for what you could have done.
A action wasn't carried out!!
Hard for a jury to see reason in a world that's stupid and would rather see who wins the'' X Factor'' or ''Britain's Got Talent!''
Over to Robb Johnson's song Moronland a verdict I'd pass.
When will we see In this country of the blind???
I will plant a tree to honour the activists.

Rainforest Action Network posting

Judging Our Right To Protest Coal - Rainforest Action Network (RAN)

Being guilty of tresspass isnt a great verdict,but not a major conviction either

I wouldnt give up or get angry at your comman man or jury,
they couldnt agree until the judge deamanded a majority verdict& they gave one on tresspass.

Bad advice

Who gave the legal advice on this ?
You do not plead a case which makes you automatically guilty of what they are charging you with, CONSPIRACY to trespass.
By claiming this "for the greater good" defence all were automatically guilty of what they were charged with, damned from their own mouths, this gives police a "RESULT" and justification for more raids, injunctions and banning orders.
next time.. MOUTHS SHUT ! no evidence from witness box = no case without putting the grasses up on the stand to be seen.
So you at least get rid of your infiltrators .
This is is Game, you need to either learn to play the same dirty tricks as the state or stay out of it.
Who ever came up with this stupid plan for your defence must be very proud...

Solidarity from the South Pacific with UK climate justice activists

Climate Camp Aotearoa sends a message of solidarity across the globe to the 20 climate justice activists found guilty of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass in the UK. The activists were among 114 people arrested in a dawn raid on Easter Monday last year against activists who planned not only to stop carbon emissions from the Ratcliffe coal power station but to be part of a much wider movement for global social justice.

Respect the climate defendants

The defendants deserve better than an uninformed comment suggesting 'bad advice'. Anyone paying the slightest attention over the last 21 months could deduce that the defendants are very well informed and fully capable of judging their best response in the circumstances in which they found themselves.

This case was just one more step on a path that will lead to the real climate criminals being held responsible for their (in)actions. If not by the courts, they will be judged by history.

When they are asked what they did to tackle change here are 20 people that can take pride in their actions and their accountability.

Soar Point - SchNEWS Says...


'Taking action on climate change is not an act of moral
righteousness, but of self-defence. History is full of ordinary people who have acted to protect their fundamental rights and we need a strong movement of people doing just that. We want to reiterate our support for everyone fighting for climate justice.' - Ratcliffe Defendants statement.

This week, as world leaders predictably failed to come up with a global carbon emissions policy in Cancun there was a disappointing result for twenty climate campaigners in Nottingham Crown Court. The twenty defendants were charged with 'conspiracy to aggravated tresspass' after a mass arrest in April 2009 (see SchNEWS 672) prevented an action taking place against Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. After three days of deliberation the jury in their case returned a unanimous guilty verdict.

Altogether 114 activists were arrested in the raid on the school. Most later had their charges dropped. Of the twenty six who went to trial, twenty decided to run a 'necessity' defence, admitting that they planned the action but maintaining that their main purpose was to prevent the emission of 150,000 tonnes of CO2 during the week that Ratcliffe was to be shut down. One team of protesters would have pressed the emergency stop buttons on the coal conveyors which feed the boilers, while another team would have climbed the inside of the chimney before abseiling into the flues to prevent the plant re-opening for a week. Six others who are due to stand trial in January are maintaining that they were not part of the plot.

The occupation was meticulously planned and was intended to last for a week. However, during the prosecution case it was revealed that police knew about the plan at least five days in advance. In the end the prosecution only produced one witness - Raymond Smith, the powerstation manager.

Apparently, according to a source close to the trial, two senior police were due to give evidence but were pulled at the last minute. Its unknown whether this was to avoid awkward questions about police intelligence gathering. (Undercover cop Mark Stone / Kennedy - see SchNEWS 745 - was present when the school was raided.)

Ratcliffe-on-Soar, owned by German energy giant E.ON, has been the repeated target of environmental activists. In 2007, activists from Eastside Climate Action succeeded in infiltrating the plant (see SchNEWS 583). In October 2009 , a thousand activists converged on the site in the Great Cliamte Swoop (see SchNEWS 696). As a coal-burning power station it kicks around ten million tonnes of CO2 into the
atmosphere every year. While he was on the stand the station manager admitted that the station burned coal rather than cleaner gas solely to make profit.

As both the defence and the prosecution were in agreement that a conspiracy to shut the power station down existed, the defence case rested entirely on the necessity of preventing emissions to save lives. The defence were allowed to present an impressive array of witnesses, including James Hansen (a NASA climate scientist) and
Caroline Lucas (Green M.P for Brighton) When commenting on the motives for the defendants, James Hansen said , 'It doesn't surprise me that young people are angry when they know that politicians are lying to them.

The prosecution countered these arguments with a variety of bizarre celebrity-fixated schemes. Wouldn't it be better, their arguments went, that the 15 grand action budget been better spent on buying Cheryl Cole a wardrobe of second-hand clothes or flying David Beckham to the Cancun Climate Summit? (What dizzying logic). The prosecutor even felt the need to tell the jury that she had a compost toilet herself, before being informed by the judge that her personal life really didn't have any bearing on the case.

In fact given that the case went so swimmingly well until the verdict - what went wrong?

SchNEWS spoke to one defendant who said, 'The whole thing has been an amazing experience, the plan went wrong but it was worth a shot. Of course there's no way of looking into the mind of the jury but I wish one of us at least had done without a professional defence. If we'd run the defence in person then we'd have been able to probe harder and get away with more than the barristers could. But people are learning from it.'

Sentencing has been adjourned until January 6th. The trial of the six who deny their involvement begins on the 10th.


* For a full run-down on everything that happened see