Around 1,000 Extinction Rebellion protestors are expected to face criminal charges for the climate crisis demonstrations.
The Crown Prosecution Service yesterday told magistrates that they are assessing whether charges should be brought against every one of the 1,100 protestors arrested in May this year.
The CPS confirmed to City of Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday that they were determined to prosecute all “where the full code test was met” – where there was sufficient evidence and it was in the public interest. This was expected to lead to hundreds of prosecutions. As a result, the Court Service have set aside two courts at City of London Magistrates Court for the next 19 weeks, in anticipation of the huge number of cases to be processed. It is expected that around 50 protestors will be required to attend each week.
Official figures for 2018 showed that 443,000 recorded crimes out of 4.6 million resulted in a criminal charge or summons in England and Wales, a proportion of around 9.6%.
Raj Chada, Head of Criminal Defence at Hodge Jones & Allen, which represents around 300 of the Extinction Rebellion protestors said: “To prosecute 1,000 people for peaceful protests beggars belief. At a time when more and more violent crimes aren’t being prosecuted the CPS has decided to waste tax payer’s money by dragging all of those arrested from Extinction Rebellion in front of the courts. Figures show that around nine percent of crimes in the UK lead to a criminal charge, yet when it comes to peaceful protestors they are trying to charge 100 per cent
“The simple fact is that most of those protestors will get nothing more than a conditional discharge or fine. How can this amount of court time and money be wasted on this? The priority should be to tackle the climate crisis that threatens us rather than the prosecution of peaceful protestors.”