Just Stop Oil protestors who invaded British Grand Prix spared jail
Six Just Stop Oil protestors who threw themselves on the track at British Grand Prix at Silverstone are spared jail as judge tells them they ‘created a risk of death’ – but ‘didn’t mean to cause harm’
- Just Stop Oil protesters handed suspended sentences and community orders
- Judge said they caused ‘risk of death’ to F1 drivers by invading Silverstone
- READ MORE: Just Stop Oil protesters guilty of risking ‘serious harm’ to F1 drivers
Six Just Stop Oil climate change protestors have today been spared jail after a track invasion which risked ‘risk of death’ to Formula One drivers and marshals at last year’s British Grand Prix.
Louis McKechnie, Emily Brocklebank and Bethany Mogie, who were among five campaigners who were dragged off the circuit at Silverstone as two Formula One cars passed close by, were given suspended jail sentences at Northampton Crown Court on Friday.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Garnham also handed 12-month community orders to fellow protesters David Baldwin, Alasdair Gibson and Joshua Smith.
Gibson and McKechnie, both 22; Mogie, 40; Baldwin, 47; Brocklebank, 24; and 30-year-old Smith all claimed the protest, which started after a red flag was signalled to halt the race, had followed a ‘meticulous’ safety plan.
But they were found guilty of causing what the Crown said was ‘an immediate risk of serious harm’ by sitting ‘in the face’ of fast-moving vehicles.
Six Just Stop Oil climate change protesters have today been spared jail after a track invasion which risked ‘risk of death’ to Formula One drivers and marshals at last year’s British Grand Prix. Pictured: Protestors are removed after running onto the track on the opening lap during the F1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone on June 30 last year
Louis McKechnie, Emily Brocklebank and Bethany Mogie, who were among five campaigners who were dragged off the circuit at Silverstone as two Formula One cars passed close by, were given suspended jail sentences at Northampton Crown Court on Friday
READ MORE: Just Stop Oil protesters guilty of risking ‘serious harm’ to F1 drivers
Brocklebank, of Yeadon, Leeds; Gibson, from Aberdeen; Mogie, from St Albans; McKechnie, from Manchester; and Smith, from Lees in Oldham, went on to the race circuit during the protest.
Baldwin, of Stonesfield, Oxfordshire, was found in a car park along with glue, cable ties and a Just Stop Oil banner and was said by the Crown to have been ‘in it together’ with his co-defendants.
McKechnie and Brocklebank – who have a joint previous conviction for gluing themselves to the frame of a £70 million Van Gogh painting days before the F1 protest – were given suspended prison sentences of 12 months and six months respectively, both suspended for two years.
Mogie, a mother of four, was given a six-month sentence of imprisonment, also suspended for two years.
During the sentencing, Mr Justice Garnham told the six campaigners that they had created a risk of death or serious injury, although he said the likelihood of harm occurring had been ‘relatively modest’.
He said: ‘I accept that the motive for all of you was not to cause harm but instead to voice your concerns about climate change.
‘None of you have committed any offence since the commission of this offence.’
The judge added that the ‘reckless’ track invasion had been carefully planned, was a deliberate breach of the law and had been carried out despite warnings about the danger of going on to the circuit.
During his sentencing remarks, the judge also said the case could be distinguished from other similar protests because it caused danger rather than inconvenience.
‘That difference will be reflected in the sentences I impose,’ the judge said.
Activist Louis McKechnie is arrested as he and other activists from Just Stop Oil block the filling station at Cobham Services on the M25 in Surrey
Just Stop Oil protesters (left to right) Bethany Mogie, Alasdair Gibson, Emily Brocklebank and David Baldwin arriving at Northampton Crown Court in July last year
Left to right (top): Emily Brocklebank, David Baldwin and Alasdair Gibson. Left to right (bottom): Louis McKechnie, Bethany Mogie and Joshua Smith
Joshua Smith arriving at Northampton Crown Court in January this year
Video footage from various camera angles covering Silverstone was played at the activists’ trial, as well as personal video statements from five of the defendants recorded a day before the protest, including a claim that the world is ‘being destroyed for the benefit of a few people’.
McKechnie, who grew up in Weymouth in Dorset, told jurors the group had planned the action over two-and-a-half months, making it as safe as possible.
During the trial, Mogie asked the jury to consider a 2021 Unicef report, which said about a billion children around the world are at ‘extremely high risk’ from the impacts of the climate crisis and pollution.
Mogie, who represented herself during the trial, said in her closing speech to the jury: ‘To love is to protect.
‘And I hope you can see that’s what we set out to do that day at Silverstone, before and on the day, with our planning and by sitting on the track peacefully for all that we are trying to protect.’
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