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Greenpeace Activists Represented By Hodge Jones & Allen Cleared Over Russian Oil Tanker Protest

Ten Greenpeace activists represented by Hodge Jones & Allen have today been cleared of aggravated trespass.

The charge related to their protest on 15th – 16th May at the Navigator oil terminal in the Thames. By blocking its jetty for 12 hours, they prevented a tanker, the Andromeda, carrying Russian diesel from unloading its cargo of Russian diesel.

The defendants claimed they were not interfering with a lawful activity, one of the ingredients of the offence of aggravated trespass. They argued that the import and sale of the diesel itself amounted to an offence under the Terrorism Act. District judge Christopher Williams, in returning his judgment at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court, stated that Russia’s war in Ukraine “could be described as terrorism” and linked the proceeds of the sale of the diesel cargo, to Russia and the funding of its attack on Ukraine.

One of the activists, former lieutenant colonel Michael Grant, told the court: “The purpose of the action was to draw attention to the fact that fossil fuels were being imported and thereby funding Putin’s war. This verdict is not just a relief for us but a complete vindication of the ethical beliefs that led us to act.”

Henry Blaxand KC and Owen Greenhall of Garden Court Chambers were the defendants’ advocates, instructed by HJA partner, Mike Schwarz.

The defendants were: Benji Bailes, Mike Grant, Kim Harrison, Ben Hearne-Salter, David James, Ian Mills, Zoe Pontida, Henry Rayner, Lyndall Stein and Rhiannon Wood.

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