A group of Just Stop Oil activists have today been spared jail despite breaking a High Court injunction by blocking a motorway petrol station.
The five, Ruth Cook, 70, Joy Corrigan 71, Dr Patrick Hart, 36, Stephen Jarvis, 66, and George Oakenfold, 78, all admitted breaking terms of a civil order that was granted to Thurrock Council and Essex County Council.
The injunction was secured in May by local authorities in order to ‘restrain unlawful acts of protest’ in their areas. These included forbidding blocking any petrol station and interfering with deliveries or refuelling, the court was told.
Today, a hearing in London heard that the environmental protesters sat in the road on August 24 and and prevented entry to an Esso petrol station at Thurrock Motorway Services in Grays, Essex.
A judge was also told that Dr Hart, who is an NHS GP, caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to 16 pumps, using a hammer and spraying them with orange paint. The case involved a ‘deliberate flouting of a court order’ and the harm caused was ‘not lessened’ by protesters having ‘conscientious motives’, according to Mr Justice Bourne.
The court handed Ms Cook, Ms Corrigan, Mr Jarvis and Mr Oakenfold a four-week sentence suspended for two years, on the condition that they did not breach injunctions again. Dr Hart received a sentence of four months, suspended for two years on condition he committed no further breaches, and was also ordered to pay a £2,000 fine.
Read more: Just Stop Oil activists avoid jail despite breaching High Court injunction (the judge said that it’s because they were not pensioners and didn’t serve mince pies in breach of lockdown rules)