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Extinction Rebellion: Court of Appeal Reduces Sentence of Former Paralympian James Brown to 4 Months and is Now Free

The Court of Appeal has reduced the sentence of former Paralympian James Brown from 12 months to 4 months following a protest he staged on the roof of plane at London City Airport during Extinction Rebellion protests in October 2019. Mr Brown, 56, was sentenced in September 2021 and chose to appeal the verdict which has been upheld by the court but with a reduced sentence. He will not be returning to prison.

Mr Brown is visually impaired and a former Paralympian who represented Great Britain in cycling and athletics before competing for Ireland in cross-country skiing. He is a father of four, and runs a charity.

Before boarding the flight bound for Amsterdam, Mr Brown climbed onto the roof of the British Airways plane and superglued his right hand to it. In his trial at Southwark Crown Court, he said he enacted his protest in order “to do something spectacular” to draw attention to the climate crisis.

Commenting on the result of the appeal, James said: 

“I am delighted that the Court of Appeal has today quashed the oppressive and discriminatory sentence of HHJ Perrins, ruling that it was wrong and unlawful.

“We’re seeing a criminal justice system deeply conflicted over the prosecution of those peacefully resisting the destruction of life on earth: juries are refusing to convict, magistrates are throwing cases out of court, and now the Court of Appeal has rejected a Crown Court’s attempt to impose a “deterrent sentence” on my act of nonviolent civil disobedience at City Airport!

“It’s clear that the Government’s desperate attempt to re-exert control with its police and sentencing Bill will fail. Not only because we will never be intimidated and never give up. But because not even the courts of this country will accept such a fundamental violation of our rights and our democracy. The real criminals are those knowingly destroying the conditions which make the planet habitable and the communities and ones that we love. It’s our duty to rebel and we will win.”

Commenting on the court’s ruling, his lawyer and head of the Criminal Defence department at Hodge, Jones & Allen, Raj Chada, said:

“We are delighted that James’ sentence has been reduced and having been granted bail, this means that he is does not need to return to prison. Nevertheless, we are disappointed that his conviction has been upheld and we will be reviewing the Judgment carefully and considering our appeal options.”

A PDF copy of the judgment is available here.

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