Scottish Daily Mail

Smug Just Stop Oil mob revels in lawyers’ surrender

- By Colin Fernandez Environmen­t Editor

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’.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom