Plane Stupid activists plead not guilty
Thirteen demonstrators appear in court over trespass charges at Heathrow Airport
HEATHROW villagers joined demonstrators in a planned rally to support Plane Stupid activists appearing in court recently.
Thirteen ‘Plane Stupid’ protesters, four of which live in Sipson, all pleaded not guilty to two charges against them at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, August 19.
Each has been charged with aggravated trespass and entering a security restricted area of an aerodrome after cutting a hole in a fence to access the northern runway at Heathrow Airport on July 13.
The first charge of aggravated trespass relates to defendants obstructing a person engaged in a lawful activity by constructing a temporary structure and locking themselves onto it.
They chained themselves together, one dressed as a polar bear, causing a total of 22 flights to be cancelled.
Speaking before the hearing, one of the defendants, Cameron Kaye, told the Gazette he moved to Sipson village two years ago with other anti-runway protesters, who were in also in court.
He said: “I’m nervous but so excited to continue the campaign against the third runway.
“Sipson will be unliveable but it’s going to affect all of us in London.”
Crowds of supporters demonstrated outside the courthouse in the morning and packed the public gallery during the hearing – some wearing badges and protest T-shirts.
Demonstrators outside Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court cheered on the defendants as they arrived at court, chanting: “No ifs, no buts, no third runway.”
Among those outside was Bryan Tomlinson, committee member of the group Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE).
He said: “[SHE] are not too involved in this case, but as a local resident I fully support them and I’m honoured to be friends with Plane Stupid.
“We are lucky to have activists willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect us.”
In a statement, Plane Stupid said its members had taken part in ‘peaceful direct action’, adding: “It is critically important that climate change is prominent in the context of any discussion about the future of the aviation industry. Against this background, and the failure of democratic processes, we believe our actions were reasonable, justifiable and honourable.”
During the hearing, each defendant spoke to confirm their name, date of birth, address and each pleaded not guilty to both charges.
All defendants were given conditional bail by Distruct Judge, Denis Brennan, and must not enter Heathrow Airport.
A trial date has been set for January 18, 2016, at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court and is expected to last two weeks.
Back Heathrow took to Twitter to point out that nine of the 13 Plane Stupid protesters do not live locally and the four that do are squatters.
Mike Appleton of Back Heathrow said: “These protesters sum up the nature of opposition to expansion at Heathrow, a small number of people making a lot of noise. Instead of relying on activists bussed in from Wales, Back Heathrow has more than 100,000 local supporters.
“No fewer than 58,000 local people took the time to say yes to a bigger and better Heathrow by writing in to the recent public consultation on the issue – a whopping 82 per cent of all responses. Antiexpansion protesters should learn that the pen is always mightier than the bolt-cutter.”
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Kaye confirmed that he lives at an address in Sipson and is glad to have time to prepare his case against climate change before the trial.
All thirteen defendants were:
Rebecca Holly Sanderson, 27, of Newton Road, Machynlleth, Powys
Melanie Strickland, 32, of Borwick Avenue, Waltham Forest
Richard Steven Hawkins, 32, of Heol y Doll, Machynlleth, Powys
Ella Gilbert, 22, of Magdalen Street, Norwich, Norfolk
Danielle Louise Paffard, 28, of Blenhiem Grove, Southwark
Graham Edward James Thompson, 42, of Durlston Road, Hackney
Robert Anthony Basto, 67, of Blackborough Road, Reigate
Kara Lauren Moses, 31, of Heol y Doll, Machynlleth, Powys
Cameron Joseph Kaye, 23, of Kenwood Close, Sipson, West Drayton
Edward Thacker, 26, of Kenwood Close, Sipson, West Drayton
Alistair Craig Tamlit, 27, of Kenwood Close, Sipson, West Drayton
Sheila Menon, 43, of Pellerin Road, Hackney;
Sam Sender, 23, of Kenwood Close, Sipson, West Drayton.
■ DEMONSTRATION: Protesters outside Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court