A Time Comes - more about the film by Nick Broomfield

Posted by tracy — 31 May 2009 at 8:19am - Comments

The Kingsnorth Six made history last year: accused of causing £30,000 of criminal damage to Kingsnorth power station, their defence of "lawful excuse"was accepted by the jury - because they were acting to safeguard property around the world "in immediate need of protection" from the impacts of climate change, caused in part by burning coal.

Inspired by their story internationally acclaimed director, Nick Broomfield has just completed a 20 minute film celebrating the spirit of direct action. The film tells the story activists who scaled the 220m chimney at a coal fired power station and the landmark case with supporting testimony by the world's leading climate scientist, Dr James Hansen of NASA.

After hearing all of the evidence, the jurors (representatives of ordinary British people) supported the right to take direct action to protect the climate from the burning of coal. The New York Times listed the defence as one of the ideas that defined 2008.

Nick Broomfield brought together a first class team including, editor Ian Davies and co-producer Michelle Thomas. Drawn to the material and the prospect of working with Broomfield, everyone on the picture gave their time for free and was happy to do so.

Nick Broomfield said: "Obviously offering your services for a film is not exactly direct action but it's doing something that is long overdue. People need to feel that they need to be involved themselves directly rather than relying on other people to do it for them. I suppose this was my own little step in that direction."

The Bright Green Pictures film 'A Time Comes – The story of the Kingsnorth Six' directed by Nick Broomfield will premiered online today on the Observer site and will be available in HD June 1st here.


a time comes dvdIf you liked A Time Comes and want to inspire more people to take action for the climate, Bright Green Pictures is offering the film free to share it with your friends and family.

The film will be available to stream or download this week, you can order a DVD copy of Bright Green Picture’s film that will be despatched to you in the post.


kingsnorth helicpoter thumb Nick Laird-Clowes composed the music for the documentary and after seeing the film for the first time wrote the song "Mayday", which he describes as "a meditation on legitimate street protest in the light of the recent G20 and Climate Camp crackdowns". The music was recorded over the May bank holiday this year and contains vocal and guitar contributions from David Gilmour. You can download the song or click the play button below to listen.

 


Nick BroomfieldA 30 minute interview with Nick Broomfield talking about the making of 'A Time Comes'. Click on the play button below to listen, or download the mp3 here »

 


Kingsnorth slideshow thumb Behind the scenes images of the volunteers who scaled the 220m chimney at a coal power station in 2007 to protest against government plans to build new coal plants across Britain.
Slideshow: the Kingsnorth Six story in pictures »


Nick Broomfield filming the Kingsnorth Six Nick Broomfield filmed interviews with the volunteers in the Greenpeace warehouse, we snapped a few pictures of him at work to share with you.
Flickr Album: Nick Broomfield at work on 'A Time Comes' »


Kingsnorth Six walk free from Maidstone Crown CourtOur blogger Bex reported daily on the court proceedings during the Crown Court case. From curly wigs to expert testimony, you can read about what happened during the trail.
The Kingsnorth Six trial: read the daily updates »


Dr James Hansen outside Maidstone Crown Court Leading climate scientist and director of NASA's Goddard Institute Professor James Hansen provided expert testimony at the trial.
Read Dr James Hansen's expert testimony »


This comment was removed because it broke our house rules.

Hi GreenObserver,

The six were all cleared of criminal damage in a crown court, due to their ‘lawful excuse’ defence being unanimously accepted by the jury.

The government were, understandably, a bit disappointed, and so nine months later, twenty months after the action, they engineered a second trial in a lower court, without a jury. In English law you can’t be tried twice for the same crime without additional evidence, and there wasn’t any, and so the CPS had to charge them with a different offence, namely aggravated trespass.

The government had gone some way towards appealing the original case to the Court of Appeal, but abandoned that effort because they had a lower chance of victory than the other route of bringing rather vague new charges in front of a court without a jury. Less satisfying for them, as the original verdict remains unchallenged, but less likely to backfire.

The ‘lawful excuse’ defence isn’t available as a response to this charge, as it is specific to criminal damage. The six decided not to engage counsel for this case, as they had already proven their point in a higher court, and so there was nothing to be gained from going through the same process again in a lower court without a jury.

So, whilst you are quite correct that the six were convicted of aggravated trespass, the presiding magistrate actually didn’t hear the ‘lawful excuse’ defence.

There’s an interesting civil liberties issue here, with the removal of the right to trial by jury allowing the government to pursue people through the courts in a rather petty and vindictive manner, but it’s not really a Greenpeace issue, and so we haven’t made any effort to publicise it.

I'm not convinced of the efficacy of most direct action. Yes, this was not symbolic, as the power station could not continue with the protesters in place, but it was a point action for a short period of time which did not address the cause of the problem - our addiction to the industrial culture.

Greenpeace have a big blindspot when it comes to root causes: they do not want to undermine the system; they are happy to work *with* the system to achieve a "better" system. The system is what it is -- a machine of destruction that can never be fixed, and should never be fixed.

There are so many other ways to live.

The court in Sittingbourne didn't accept that the Kingsnorth 6 had 'lawful excuse' for their aggravated trespass. They were all convicted!
I know that this dosn't make such a good story but concealing the truth really won't help.

This comment was removed because it broke our house rules.

Hi GreenObserver, The six were all cleared of criminal damage in a crown court, due to their ‘lawful excuse’ defence being unanimously accepted by the jury. The government were, understandably, a bit disappointed, and so nine months later, twenty months after the action, they engineered a second trial in a lower court, without a jury. In English law you can’t be tried twice for the same crime without additional evidence, and there wasn’t any, and so the CPS had to charge them with a different offence, namely aggravated trespass. The government had gone some way towards appealing the original case to the Court of Appeal, but abandoned that effort because they had a lower chance of victory than the other route of bringing rather vague new charges in front of a court without a jury. Less satisfying for them, as the original verdict remains unchallenged, but less likely to backfire. The ‘lawful excuse’ defence isn’t available as a response to this charge, as it is specific to criminal damage. The six decided not to engage counsel for this case, as they had already proven their point in a higher court, and so there was nothing to be gained from going through the same process again in a lower court without a jury. So, whilst you are quite correct that the six were convicted of aggravated trespass, the presiding magistrate actually didn’t hear the ‘lawful excuse’ defence. There’s an interesting civil liberties issue here, with the removal of the right to trial by jury allowing the government to pursue people through the courts in a rather petty and vindictive manner, but it’s not really a Greenpeace issue, and so we haven’t made any effort to publicise it.

I'm not convinced of the efficacy of most direct action. Yes, this was not symbolic, as the power station could not continue with the protesters in place, but it was a point action for a short period of time which did not address the cause of the problem - our addiction to the industrial culture. Greenpeace have a big blindspot when it comes to root causes: they do not want to undermine the system; they are happy to work *with* the system to achieve a "better" system. The system is what it is -- a machine of destruction that can never be fixed, and should never be fixed. There are so many other ways to live.

The court in Sittingbourne didn't accept that the Kingsnorth 6 had 'lawful excuse' for their aggravated trespass. They were all convicted! I know that this dosn't make such a good story but concealing the truth really won't help.

About Tracy

I work for Greenpeace in the UK office. Most people in the office might describe what I do as "something to do with computers". That might be followed up with "and she is not a morning person". Clearly I think it is far more interesting than that. I have been helping Greenpeace organise and deliver online campaigns for more than 10 years (I’m going to stop counting) in Canada, Brazil, India and from our international headquarters. And then I realised my carbon foot print was out of control and have settled in the UK bought a boat and a solar panel and am now trying to make amends.

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