On Friday, Loughborough Magistrates Court rejected calls from the Crown Prosecution Service to slap ASBOs on the 24 Plane Stupid activists who they described as “highly organised extremists” that were arrested in connection with the shut down of Nottingham East Midlands short haul airport in September. In an apparent move aimed to avoid having the case heard by a jury, the charge of public nuisance was dropped, as was the charge relating to an alleged breach of the aviation and security act.
Plane Stupid lawyer, Mike Schwarz, described the action to the court as a “classic piece of civil disobedience” and reminded the court that “Tony Blair himself has described climate change as the greatest threat facing mankind.” Campaigner for Plane Stupid, Ellen Rickford, said, “The same day that we learn the government is pushing ahead with its airport expansion proposals, they try to use ASBOs to stamp out peaceful protest. Well, it seems their plans for that were as doomed as the aviation industry.”
17 activists got one year conditional discharges (the minimum sentence available) and each was charged £70 in costs. The 5 charged with criminal damage in addition to aggravated trespass were given varying levels of community service. One person was referred to Crown Court due to unresolved legal issues and another had his case adjourned until January 31st. One other activist was unable to attend court due to illness.
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