9 Jan 2011
Climate trial collapses after police infiltrator unmasked
Good news but remember if you do good the cops will infiltrate your organisaton.
Today’s trial against six people charged with conspiracy to shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in 2009 will collapse on its first day at Nottingham Crown Court. Activists exposed that an undercover police officer had been spying on them for seven years, and had actually helped organise the proposed power-station shut-down. Barristers submitted that the defendants could not have a fair trial if the Crown Prosecution Service did not disclose details of the officers’ involvement.
After 20 months of investigation the Crown Prosecution Service cited new ‘previously unavailable evidence’ found on 5 January 2011. On Friday last week they informed the defence that they will no longer be pressing charges.
The six defendants were among the 114 climate campaigners arrested at Nottingham’s Iona School over the Easter weekend in April 2009. The incident was the largest pre-emptive arrest of environmental activists in UK history and was widely criticised as a serious erosion of the right to protest.
Oliver Knowles, one of the defendants in the collapsed trial said:
“I was arrested despite having made no decision to take part in the conspiracy, having only learnt of the planned action an hour or two before the police raid. The police knew this full well as one of their number was present in the room. Despite this they went ahead with my arrest and subsequent prosecution. This raises serious questions about the police operation.”
Knowles added “From intrusive surveillance of climate campaigners, to the recent kettling of school kids, the police continue to show their utter contempt for protesters.”
Mike Schwarz, a solicitor at the Bindmans law firm who represented the activists said,
“I have no doubt that our attempts to get disclosure about Kennedy’s role has led to the collapse of the trial. It is no coincidence that just 48 hours after we told the CPS our clients could not receive a fair trial unless they disclosed material about Kennedy, they halted the prosecution. Given that Kennedy was, until recently, willing to assist the defence, one has to ask if the police were facing up to the possibility their undercover agent had turned native.”