Climate activists found guilty over London train protest by 'regretful' jury

(Reuters News, 18 Dec 2019) Jurors deliver their verdict "with regret" after being ordered by judge to focus on protesters' actions not their motivation.

Three Extinction Rebellion activists who glued themselves to a London train were found guilty on Wednesday of criminal obstruction after a judge dismissed their defence that the protest was "necessary" to drive action on climate change.

Cathy Eastburn, one of the arrested protesters, said climbing onto the roof of the train in April was a desperate attempt to "sound the alarm" about climate threats, including those to her two daughters and other children.

Extinction Rebellion launched in London in 2018 using non-violent civil disobedience to highlight the risks posed by climate change, inspiring a wave of action globally with protests leading to thousands of arrests.

"Like a person in a burning building would sound the alarm and bash on doors and maybe even break something to get people to leave the building and save them - it felt very much like that to me," Eastburn told the Inner London Crown Court jury.

But Judge Silas Reid - who on Monday ruled the activists could not use the "law of necessity" as a defence - ordered jurors to focus on the activists' actions, not their intentions.

He "made absolutely clear they couldn't take into account the motivations and reasons the defendants took the action" and that those charged must be found guilty if they blocked the train, said Mike Schwarz, a solicitor for the trio.

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Reuters News, 18 Dec 2019: Climate activists found guilty over London train protest by 'regretful' jury