Trials

Cairn polar bear found not guilty

Posted by bex — 24 November 2011 at 12:10pm - Comments
Melting icebergs in the path of rigs in the Arctic, the latest oil frontier
All rights reserved. Credit: Will Rose / Greenpeace
Melting icebergs in the path of rigs in the Arctic, the latest oil frontier

Back in July, if you remember, fifty Greenpeace polar bears occupied Cairn Energy's Edinburgh headquarters, looking for the company's Arctic oil spill response plan and taking your messages to the heart of the company. (I'd post pictures to jog your memory but I'm afraid we're still gagged by Cairn's interdict.)

The Arctic 20 on trial

Posted by ben — 16 September 2011 at 9:01am - Comments
The 18 activists in jail for boarding Cairn's rig to demand the spill response p
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace
18 of the 20 activists facing trial

Early one June morning this year, along with 19 fellow activists I jumped off a Greenpeace inflatable and climbed up the vertical wall of the leg of a giant oil rig, the Leiv Eiriksson, which was drilling 
nearly 200km off the coast of Greenland in the freezing waters of the 
Davis Strait.

Greenpeace podcast: behind the scenes at the Kingsnorth Trial

Posted by bex — 24 September 2008 at 10:21am - Comments

In this special edition of our podcast, we take a behind the scenes look at the extraordinary events that have already gone down in legend here at the Greenpeace office. This month, six Greenpeace activists were acquitted of causing criminal damage to Kingsnorth coal-fired power station, because they were acting to prevent greater damage caused by climate change. The verdict has been hailed by some of the world's more hysterical media pundits as the official start of a state of anarchy in the UK.

I spent ten days with the defendants, finding out what was really happening, and how they were coping with the emotion, stress and drama of being at the centre of it all.

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The Kingsnorth trial »
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Witness statements in full »
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Kingsnorth trial: witness statements in full

Posted by bex — 12 September 2008 at 2:17pm - Comments

Zak Goldsmith outside Maidstone Crown Court

Zak Goldsmith outside Maidstone Crown Court © Greenpeace/Jiri Rezak

As promised, here are the full written statements from the defence witnesses at the Kingsnorth trial:

Obviously, these don't include verbal answers the witnesses gave while they were on the stand - check out the daily blogs from the trial for some of those.

Kingsnorth media coverage catapults coal onto the public agenda

Posted by jossc — 11 September 2008 at 1:28pm - Comments

Emily Hall prepares to send a message to the government

Hats off to the Kingsnorth Six for having the courage to risk prison to hold the government's misguided energy policy to account. The fact that Gordon Brown and co are planning to ramp up Britain's consumption of coal (the most climate damaging fossil fuel) had gone largely unnoticed by our mainstream media until yesterday's successful trial result. Not any more!

Breaking news: Kingsnorth Six found not guilty!

Posted by bex — 10 September 2008 at 3:29pm - Comments
The Greenpeace activists who closed down Kingsnorth coal-fired power station
All rights reserved. Credit: Will Rose / Greenpeace
The Greenpeace activists who closed down Kingsnorth coal-fired power station

See all trial updates.


It's been a pretty unusual ten days but today has been truly extraordinary. At 3.20pm, the jury came back into court and announced a majority verdict of not guilty! All six defendants - Kevin, Emily, Tim, Will, Ben and Huw - were acquitted of criminal damage.

To recap on how important this verdict is: the defendants campaigners were accused of causing £30,000 of criminal damage to Kingsnorth smokestack from painting. The defence was that they had 'lawful excuse' - because they were acting to protect property around the world "in immediate need of protection" from the impacts of climate change, caused in part by burning coal.

Kingsnorth trial day seven: the jury's out

Posted by bex — 9 September 2008 at 5:34pm - Comments

Kingsnorth coal-fired power station

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A relatively short blog today (I thought you deserved it after yesterday's dissertation).

The judge finished summing up before lunch and, at 12.50pm, the jury retired to consider the verdict. By the end of the day, after a fair bit of pacing and nail biting in the defendants' camp, the jury said they hadn't yet been able to reach a unanimous verdict. So the trial - and the slightly frayed nerves - continue into Wednesday. 

Kingsnorth trial day six: the summing up

Posted by bex — 8 September 2008 at 5:56pm - Comments

The Kingsnorth Six outside Maidstone Crown Court

The Kingsnorth Six outside Maidstone Crown Court © Rezac/Greenpeace

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Things are getting really interesting; the end of the trial is probably close (it looks as though the jury will be sent out to decide their verdict at 11.30 on Tuesday), we've seen the summing up from both the defence and the prosecution, there's been laughter and a few tears and, again, I'm going to struggle to get all my notes into a blog-sized piece.

First up was a statement (originally due on Friday) from Aqqaluk Lynge, an Inuit leader personally responsible for addressing damage to property in Greenland as a result of climate change. There's a lot of it for him to address:

Kingsnorth trial day five: a short update

Posted by bex — 5 September 2008 at 2:20pm - Comments

The Kingsnorth Six outside Maidstone Crown Court

The Kingsnorth Six outside Maidstone Crown Court © Rezac/Greenpeace

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We were expecting to hear evidence from Inuit leader Aqqaluk Lynge today but, because a juror fell ill, that's been postponed until Monday. Instead, the court held a legal discussion, none of which I can write about.

We're tentatively expecting a verdict early next week but, of course, nobody really knows. At the moment though, we're on the train back to London; the defendants are tired but in good spirits, and looking forward to a short window of normality before the case resumes next week. More on Monday.

Kingsnorth trial day three: world's leading climate scientist gives evidence

Posted by bex — 3 September 2008 at 10:45pm - Comments

James Hansen

James Hansen in conversation outside Maidstone Crown Court © Rezac/Greenpeace

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This is a difficult blog to write - mostly because I'm not sure what to leave out. Today, at the Kingsnorth trial, the world's leading climate scientist told the court that emissions from Kingsnorth led to damage to property worldwide, as well as the extinction of species and the creation of climate change refugees. Gordon Brown, he said, should announce a moratorium on all new coal plants without carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Another witness - an authority on climate change impacts in the UK - said all citizens and governments needed to "act with urgency". And two of the defendants, Emily and Kevin, gave impressive testimonies about why they took the action they did. And there's nowhere near enough space to write about it all.

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