Scottish Daily Mail
Smug Just Stop Oil mob revels in lawyers’ surrender
JUST Stop Oil activists said they were celebrating ‘a major win’ last night after a group of more than 120 leading lawyers said they would not prosecute ‘peaceful’ climate protesters.
The ecocampaigners said the declaration could prove a useful tactic in court against prosecutors, who they could ask: ‘You have colleagues who are refusing to prosecute – why are you prosecuting me?’
As the Mail revealed yesterday, a group called ‘Lawyers are Responsible’ have signed a declaration saying they will refuse to prosecute climate activists.
Top lawyers including Jolyon Maugham, Sir Geoffrey Bindman and Michael Mansfield, KC, backed the declaration.
Just Stop Oil protesters have blockaded motorways and splattered Old Master paintings with soup. More than 2,000 have been arrested and 138 jailed – with
‘In danger of failing in their duty’
trials ongoing. Writing in The Guardian, Mr Maugham said: ‘We should not be forced to prosecute our brave friends whose conduct, protesting against the destruction of the planet, the law wrongly criminalises.’
A Just Stop Oil activist wrote: ‘Everyone involved in Just Stop Oil should be celebrating this as a major win and take a moment to enjoy it and smile.’
Tana Adkin, KC, vicechairman of the Criminal Bar Association criticised the declaration, saying: ‘A barrister who also brings their own personal or political views into the court is in danger of failing in their duty to represent either side independently and it is this independence that preserves the fairness of our justice system.’
Sir Bob Neill MP, of the Society of Conservative Lawyers, said ‘very few’ of the signatories ‘have any experience of criminal work’, so ‘the likelihood they could be asked to put their money where their mouth is nonexistent’.