This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
The Green MP Caroline Lucas has been cleared of all the public order offences for her participation in protest against shale gas extraction.
The Brighton Pavilion MP was arrested outside energy company Cuadrilla’s exploratory oil drilling site in Balcombe, West Sussex, during last August 19 for protesting against anti-fracking.
Ms Lucas was among a group of protesters who had demonstrated linked arms outside the site, which had become a national focal point for anti-fracking protests.
At Brighton Magistrates’ Court alongside four co-defendants, Ms Lucas, 53, has said during the trial she “wanted to express solidarity” by protesting peacefully.
She was found not guilty of the two charges she faced – wilful obstruction of a public highway and breaching an order under Section 14 of the Public Order Act.
Her co-defendants – Josef Dobraszczyk, 22, from Bristol; Ruth Jarman, 50, from Hook, Hampshire; Sheila Menon, 42, from north east London; and Ruth Potts, 39, from Totnes, Devon – were also cleared of all the offences.
An exploratory company Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. site, 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of London, had to face anti-fracking demonstrators last year when it opted for drilling operation there. Afterwards, the company had decided against production as the concerns were raised that its operations may lead to fracking there.
The Green MP has stated outside the court: “We’re very pleased that the court upheld our right to peacefully protest against fracking.
“Protest is the lifeblood of democracy.
“We are deeply concerned that the right to protest is being eroded and undermined, with legitimate protest criminalised by oppressive policing in an attempt to silence dissent.
“This judgement is right but this is not a victory or cause for celebration.
“We will continue to campaign to end fracking and only celebrate when our world is on the path to a clean energy future.”
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