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Three Insulate Britain activists have been found guilty of causing a public nuisance by a jury for a two-hour sit-down blockade of traffic.

The three, Helen Redfern, Simon Reding and Catherine Rennie-Nash, were banned from talking about the climate crisis or the role of insulation in cutting greenhouse gas emissions as they presented their case to the jury at Inner London crown court. The same restriction has been placed on other Insulate Britain defendants in previous trials for public nuisance relating to peaceful protests taken as part of the group’s campaign for better insulation in UK homes.

Redfern, 58, Reding, 50 and Rennie-Nash, 71, were found guilty of public nuisance by the jury on Monday. The three had been part of a demonstration at Bishopsgate in the City of London on 25 October 2021 in which they sat down and blockaded traffic.

David Matthew, prosecuting, told the jury the demonstrators were removed after two hours. The whole area was reopened an hour later after experts cleared solvents from the streets which had been used to remove the superglue with which some demonstrators glued themselves to the road.

Matthew said: “There are about 255 buses an hour running through Bishopsgate. Over a protest lasting for two hours there would have been several thousand people whose bus journey was affected.”

The blockade was part of Insulate Britain’s campaign to demand a national programme to insulate all homes by 2030.

Judge Reid imposed restrictions on what the trio were able to say in their defence. They were prevented from talking about what had motivated them to take action, including a ban on talking about the climate crisis, insulation or fuel poverty. They were also prevented from talking about the civil rights movement in the US.

Defendants in six criminal trials for Insulate Britain action have all been restricted from talking about the climate emergency, as a result of rulings by Reid. He told the jury on Monday: “Each defendant acted in the way they did because they felt it was necessary to do so to further their protests. I did not allow you to hear about their motivation because it wasn’t relevant.”

One Insulate Britain activist who ignored the judge’s restriction and explained his motivation to the jury in a previous trial has been jailed for eight weeks for contempt of court.

David Nixon, a care worker from Barnsley, told the jury: “You’ve not been able to hear these truths because this court has not allowed me to say them. Our safety is at risk, our society is at risk.”

He said later at his contempt hearing he found the inability to tell the jury why he had taken part in the protest “soul-destroying”.

“If London continues to flood, [if there are more] wildfires, 40C heat, these are decisions that you are having to live with and I – this is going to sound completely unapologetic – I have seen what’s happened in the past week. It underlines climate delay and climate action delay. If we were able to say why we did what we did to the jury they would maybe acquit us,” he said.

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At an earlier trial for the same roadblock, Stephanie Aylett was threatened with a contempt action by Reid when she addressed the jury and compared the significance of the disruption caused by the roadblock at Bishopsgate to the significance of the floods in Pakistan in 2022, and the water crisis in the state of Mississippi. She later apologised to the judge and was not pursued for contempt of court.

Mark Coleman, a retired vicar from Rochdale, was prevented from mentioning the US civil rights movement in any of his evidence at the trial. Aylett, Coleman and two others were convicted by at their trial of causing a public nuisance by taking part in the 25 October roadblock.

Reding, Rennie-Nash and Redfern were warned they face a custodial sentence after the guilty verdict on Monday.

They are due to be sentenced on 24 March along with the other Insulate Britain activists found guilty at earlier trials, including Nixon, Aylett and Coleman. Another activist, Alex Rodger, 33, who pleaded guilty last week, will also be sentenced.


#Insulate #Britain #activists #guilty #London #roadblock

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