FOUR JUST STOP OIL SUPPORTERS were found not guilty at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court on 25 January. The four were facing charges of aggravated trespass in relation to blocking the distribution of oil from Esso Birmingham, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil, on 3 April 2022.
Ruth Lanser, Hannah Torrence-Bright, Abigail Percy Ratcliffe and Jake Handling were demanding no new licenses or consents for the exploration and extraction of fossil fuels in the UK.
The verdict came in the wake of a recent ruling in the High Court of Massachusetts, that Exxon Mobil must face trial over revelations of lying about the climate crisis and covering up the fossil fuel industry’s role in worsening environmental devastation, in a decades-long cover-up.
Speaking before the trial, Hannah Torrence Bright, a sculpture and environmental art student from Glasgow, said: “Time and again I find myself explaining to judges and prosecutors why the climate crisis constitutes an imminent threat to life and requires urgent action, and time and again I am told that the great injustice at hand is not the death and displacement of billions, but rather us denting the profits of oil companies like Exxon Mobil.
“Exxon Mobil are currently on trial in America for engaging in what has been described as a ‘coordinated, multi-front effort’ to deceive the public and investors, to discredit climate science, and to lobby against green legislation.
“It is absurd that I have to justify my actions in shutting down their facilities, when they are, put frankly, guilty of genocide by knowing the facts of climate collapse, and still lobbying for fossil fuel expansion.”
A Just Stop Oil spokesperson added: “The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, has stated that it is those expanding the production of fossil fuels who should be regarded as the dangerous radicals, not peaceful climate defenders, like those on trial today.
“The result of this case is yet another example that when magistrates and juries are permitted to hear the full facts, they often find in favour of Just Stop Oil supporters. This is a tacit acknowledgment that they know who the real criminals are. We are calling on all those in the police and judiciary to do their sworn duty, and to stand for justice against those enacting policies that are causing death and displacement for millions of people.”
A further nine defendants are scheduled to appear at Wolverhampton Crown Court, in relation to this action, on the 13 February 2023.
Since the Just Stop Oil campaign began, there have been over 2,000 arrests and 150 people have spent time in prison. There are currently 10 Just Stop Oil supporters in prison awaiting trial or serving sentences for actions taken with the campaign.
Just Stop Oil commented: “We stand with our 10 supporters in prison, with the 1,800 victims of our broken criminal justice system imprisoned for over a year without trial and with the 1,700 murdered across the global south, for protecting all our lives. This is the moment for us to come together and resist the destruction of everything we love, something that is being imposed on us by a few, who only seek to enrich themselves.
“We’re done with begging. We are going to stop new fossil fuel projects whether those in power agree or not. As citizens, parents and children, we have every right under British law to protect ourselves and those we love. We are the last generation who can solve this. Will you step up? Join us and Just Stop Oil.”
* More information the ruling that Exxon Mobil must face trial over alleged climate crimes here.
* Source: Just Stop Oil