Judge tells Just Stop Oil activists he is ‘moved by their actions’ as group are spared jail over chaos with dawn raids on Esso oil terminal
- Seven found guilty after blocking distribution of oil from Esso in Birmingham
There was fury today after a soft-touch judge told seven Just Stop Oil activists convicted for raiding an Esso oil terminal he was ‘moved by their actions’.
The eco zealots blocked the Esso Fuel Terminal in Birmingham for 12 hours as part of a swathe of coordinated protests in April last year, causing widespread chaos for drivers as scores of petrol stations were forced to close due to supply issues.
Among those affected were commuters dependent on their cars for getting into work, who took to Twitter to complain about being able to fill up due to the selfish stunt.
Today, Paul Barnes, Paul Fawkesley and Alan Woods were each made to pay costs of £500, while Oliver Clegg, Jon Deery, Harley Brewer, Diana Hekt were charged costs of £250 each.
Judge Graham Wilkinson, sitting in Wolverhampton Magistrates Court, handed all seven a 12 month conditional discharge and made to pay a £22 surcharge.
Following their sentencing, Just Stop Oil issued a misleading statement which suggested the judge had said they should ‘feel guilty for nothing’. This prompted a rebuke from the Judicial Office, which pointed out that he had been misquoted.
Just Stop Oil shared this photo outside court yesterday – a judge told activists ‘thank you for opening my eyes to certain things’
Addressing the group, Judge Wilkinson said: ‘It is abundantly clear that you are all good people, intelligent and articulate and you have been a pleasure throughout to deal with.
‘It is unarguable that man made global warming is real and that we are facing a climate crisis.
‘That is accepted and recognised by the scientific community and most governments (including our own).
‘Your aims are to slow or even stop the advance of global warming and therefore to preserve the planet not just for generations to come but for existing generations.’
In the extraordinary summation, the judge continued lavishing praise on the mob.
‘No one can therefore criticise your motivations and indeed each of you has spoken individually about your own personal experiences, motivations and actions,’ he said.
‘Many of your explanations for your actions were deeply emotive and I am sure all listening were moved by them, I know I was.
‘In simple terms you are good people with admirable aims.
‘However if good people with the right motivation do the wrong thing it can never make that wrong thing right, it can only ever act as substantial mitigation.’
Social media users slammed the judge’s comments
Police officers detain a Just Stop Oil activist during a protest outside the Esso Birmingham fuel terminal on April 1 last year
The judge’s comments prompted a wave of anger today, with entrepreneur Luke Johnson accusing him of ‘drinking the Kool-Aid’.
One Twitter user said: ‘Well he should be sacked. His opinion means nothing. He’s supposed to up hold the law of the UK.’
A second added: ‘Another judge that needs to go.’
Naomi Goddard and Sylvie More have both been declared not guilty, as the Crown Prosecution Service ‘offered no evidence’ against them.
Clegg, 20, a plant science student from Manchester, said: ‘I never expected that I’d find myself breaking the law, getting arrested and before a judge.
‘However, I also never expected that the government would license new oil, gas and even coal mines, whilst claiming it’s leading the world on the climate crisis.
‘If the government will not stand up to the fossil fuel industry, then it’s up to young people to defend our own futures.’
Activists from Just Stop Oil block the route of a tanker as they blockade the ESSO Birmingham Fuel Terminal, Birmingham, on Friday April 1, 2022.