Plane Stupid ac­tivists plead not guilty

Thir­teen de­mon­stra­tors ap­pear in court over tres­pass charges at Heathrow Air­port

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

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

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