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Guilty verdict in Ratcliffe trial

Notts IMC + Ratcliffe on Trial | 15.12.2010 18:13 | Climate Chaos | Ecology | Energy Crisis | Sheffield

After a 3 week trial and 3 days of deliberation for the jury, 20 climate activists were found guilty of conspiring to commit aggravated trespass today. The defendants were amongst 114 activists arrested at a Nottingham school in April 2009, on the verge of taking action to shut down the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station.

Over the course of the trial the jury heard evidence from a raft of experts including James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists. MPs also testified on the inadequacy of conventional political channels to prevent climate change. The 20 are clear that "Taking action on climate change is not an act of moral righteousness, but of self-defence."

Newswire: Opening 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Prosecution 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Defence 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | Conclusion 1 | 2 | Verdict 1 | 2 | 3

Previous features: Mass Arrest of 114 Climate Activists in Raid | Ratcliffe Conspiracy Trial Begins | Ratcliffe Trial: Prosecution Opens | Ratcliffe Trial: Week 2

Links: Ratcliffe on Trial

Defendants' statement

As the UN climate talks finish in Cancun, and fail once again to come up with any legally binding framework to reduce emissions, the British legal system is still upholding business as usual. This can’t continue. Burning coal has no future.

We are twenty of the 114 who were targets of the biggest pre-emptive arrest in UK history, as part of the increasing drive to stifle real action on climate change. We planned not only to stop carbon emissions from Ratcliffe but to be part of a much wider movement for global social justice. Dealing with climate change means looking at its root causes and we need to question why the profits of corporations such as e.on are being prioritised over people on the front line of our changing climate and the protection of our children’s futures.

In the 3 weeks we’ve been on trial over 17,000 people have died from the effects of climate change, species have continued to disappear and a few energy CEOs have continued to line their pockets. It’s the poorest and most vulnerable communities, those least responsible for this crisis, who are being hit the hardest.

Taking action on climate change is not an act of moral righteousness, but of self-defence. History is full of ordinary people who have acted to protect their fundamental rights and we need a strong movement of people doing just that. We want to reiterate our support for everyone fighting for climate justice.

We want to thank everyone for the amazing amount of solidarity we have received during this process from within Nottingham and beyond. It has been absolutly inspiring. We are keen to publich more information, but obviously need to wait until sentencing on Friday to do this.

Notts IMC + Ratcliffe on Trial

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Hide the following 8 comments

17,000? Really?

15.12.2010 21:13

'In the 3 weeks we’ve been on trial over 17,000 people have died from the effects of climate change'

That's a startling claim! It might be a useful claim, if you can back it up with a reliable source or a convincing explanation. Can you? Can anyone? Please!


You thought 17,000 was a startling claim?

15.12.2010 22:28

I don't know, but I suspect the source was this ...

Climate change is already killing 300,000 people a year in a “silent crisis” that is seriously affecting hundreds of millions more, an influential humanitarian group warned today.
A report by the Global Humanitarian Forum, led by Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General, says that the effects of climate change are growing in such a way that it will have a serious impact on 600 million people, almost ten per cent of the world’s population, within 20 years. Almost all of these will be in developing countries.

300,000 people already being killed = 300,000 / 52 = 5,769 per week x 3 weeks = 17,308 in the three weeks of the trial. The suggestion is that the 300,000 per year will grow. Probably already has.

Any other research I can do for you? Or perhaps you might want to do your own ;-)


Being guilty of tresspass isnt a great verdict,but not a major conviction either

16.12.2010 00:52

I wouldnt give up or get angry at your comman man or jury,
they couldnt agree until the judge deamanded a majority verdict& they gave one on tresspass.
Most of the people charged with that will recieve praise& forgiveness when more rising water levels & effects on the gulf stream become even more apparent 2011.

Holy fartwater

Why not appeal?

21.12.2010 08:30

If you had a UC present during your defense meetings then you were prevented from having a fair trial!


Soar Point

21.12.2010 12:39



“Taking action on climate change is not an act of moral righteousness, but of self-defence. History is full of ordinary people who have acted to protect their fundamental rights and we need a strong movement of people doing just that. We want to reiterate our support for everyone fighting for climate justice.” - Ratcliffe Defendants statement.

This week, as world leaders predictably failed to come up with a global carbon emissions policy in Cancứn there was a disappointing result for twenty climate campaigners in Nottingham Crown Court. The twenty defendants were charged with ‘conspiracy to aggravated tresspass’ after a mass arrest in April 2009 (see SchNEWS 672) prevented an action taking place against Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. After three days of deliberation the jury in their case returned a unanimous guilty verdict.

Altogether 114 activists were arrested in the raid on the school. Most later had their charges dropped. Of the twenty six who went to trial, twenty decided to run a ‘necessity’ defence, admitting that they planned the action but maintaining that their main purpose was to prevent the emission of 150,000 tonnes of CO2 during the week that Ratcliffe was to be shut down. One team of protesters would have pressed the emergency stop buttons on the coal conveyors which feed the boilers, while another team would have climbed the inside of the chimney before abseiling into the flues to prevent the plant re-opening for a week. Six others who are due to stand trial in January are maintaining that they were not part of the plot.

The occupation was meticulously planned and was intended to last for a week. However, during the prosecution case it was revealed that police knew about the plan at least five days in advance. In the end the prosecution only produced one witness - Raymond Smith, the power station manager. Apparently, according to a source close to the trial, two senior police were due to give evidence but were pulled at the last minute. Its unknown whether this was to avoid awkward questions about police intelligence gathering. (Undercover cop Mark Stone / Kennedy – see SchNEWS 745 - was present when the school was raided.)

Ratcliffe-on-Soar, owned by German energy giant E.ON, has been the repeated target of environmental activists. In 2007, activists from Eastside Climate Action succeeded in infiltrating the plant (see SchNEWS 583). In October 2009 , a thousand activists converged on the site in the Great Cliamte Swoop (see SchNEWS 696). As a coal-burning power station it kicks around ten million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. While he was on the stand the station manager admitted that the station burned coal rather than cleaner gas solely to make profit.

As both the defence and the prosecution were in agreement that a conspiracy to shut the power station down existed, the defence case rested entirely on the necessity of preventing emissions to save lives. The defence were allowed to present an impressive array of witnesses, including James Hansen (a NASA climate scientist) and Caroline Lucas (Green M.P for Brighton) When commenting on the motives for the defendants, James Hansen said , “It doesn’t surprise me that young people are angry when they know that politicians are lying to them.

The prosecution countered these arguments with a variety of bizarre celebrity-fixated schemes. Wouldn’t it be better, their arguments went, that the 15 grand action budget been better spent on buying Cheryl Cole a wardrobe of second-hand clothes or flying David Beckham to the Cancun Climate Summit? (What dizzying logic). The prosecutor even felt the need to tell the jury that she had a compost toilet herself, before being informed by the judge that her personal life really didn’t have any bearing on the case.

In fact given that the case went so swimmingly well until the verdict - what went wrong?

SchNEWS spoke to one defendant who said, “The whole thing has been an amazing experience, the plan went wrong but it was worth a shot. Of course there’s no way of looking into the mind of the jury but I wish one of us at least had done without a professional defence. If we’d run the defence in person then we’d have been able to probe harder and get away with more than the barristers could. But people are learning from it.”

Sentencing has been adjourned until January 6th. The trial of the six who deny their involvement begins on the 10th.

* For a full run-down on everything that happened see

Jo Makepeace
mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

It all went swimingly from whos perspective?

23.12.2010 19:57

The defence allowed a great deal of Greenpeace grandstanding and 'getting the message' over but a necessity defence on a charge of Aggravated trespass was suicide for the actual defendants.

Criminal damage has a necessity defence built in - Aggravated trespass does not.

Not so sure

Newbie Welcome

02.01.2011 02:13

I recently came across your blog and have been reading posts. I thought I would leave a comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

mail e-mail:
- Homepage:


03.01.2011 21:39

You cannot face the justice system. 12 members of the jury found you guilty after asking many questions. you argued amongst your legal team as to the term immediate. 18 months passed and you did no more (or so you say) and you also said that this was a once in a life time opportunity, was it really? My internet research now shows that you have been round the block a few times and I am sure sentencing will hopefully be right for those with previous; and looking at pictures some of you were wearing the same clothes on your previous visits to the dock too! Wearing suits did not hide the supporters outside and on tv that looked like the great unwashed, you can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig! Maybe you can now turn your efforts to 'Nuclear' demonstration issues....but hang on your hero that flew in from NASA stated that nuclear was the future not coal, lets see if you call him when arrested for offences relating to nuclear protest in the future?

Sarah-Marie Jones


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