Victory for Greta Thunberg and defeat for the British police in recent freedom of speech case

NEWS AND COMMENT/OPINION: This is a story which ultimately is about animal conservation and is relevant to this website. I want to make that point clear early on because some people might think I am digressing. But this website is very large and I need to branch out into other areas of animal welfare rather than confine myself to domestic and wild cats.

Greta Thunberg delighted after the hearing
Greta Thunberg delighted after the hearing. Picture: James Manning PA. Note: if James or PA have a problem with me publishing the picture here please leave a comment of email me.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Okay, putting that introduction to one side, I can happily report that the UK’s prosecution of Greta Thunberg and two other climate change protesters, was thrown out by District Judge John Law because of a lack of evidence against Thunberg.

My reading of the case is that the police mishandled the matter badly and the prosecution’s case simply lacked evidence to prosecute Thunberg for a breach of section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986.

The case against her crashed because the police restricted freedom of speech and you can’t do that on a charge which simply does not stick and is mismanaged.

You may remember she was arrested outside the Intercontinental Hotel in Mayfair where there was a gathering of company heads for the Energy Intelligence Forum.

The police tried to move the protesters as it was alleged that they were blocking the entrance to the hotel. The police told the protesters to go somewhere else.

The police officer who arrested Thunberg said that he had told her to move to “Piccadilly Place”; a location which doesn’t exist.

The judge said that the protest was “throughout peaceful, civilised and non-violent”. No one was blocked and the protestors allowed people entering and leaving the hotel to pass.

The judge criticised the prosecution’s evidence about where the demonstrators should move to. The judge added that the police’s condition imposed on protesters to move to a different location became “increasingly garbled and confused as it was passed from officer to officer”.

And he decided there simply wasn’t sufficient evidence. Of the many people who were there at the time coming and going none of them produced evidence against the protesters.

It is quite striking to me that there were no witness statements taken from anyone in the hotel, approximately 1,000 people, or from anyone trying to get in.

District Judge John Law

After a two-day hearing, District Judge John Law found that the condition put on Greta Thunberg and her fellow protesters was “so unclear that it was unlawful”. He decided that non-compliance was not an offence.

The lawyer for Thunberg and her fellow protesters, Raj Chada, said that the government should focus more on tackling the climate crisis and less on restricting the freedom of speech of protesters both in Europe and in the UK. This is exactly what Greta Thunberg has been saying for a long time.

The court granted Thunberg’s lawyer’s request for costs and the government will pay his legal fees plus Thunberg’s travel costs.

A big defeat for the UK government, the UK police, the UK’s prosecution service (CPS) and a great victory for climate change protesters who I have always said are bravely doing great work. They risk being arrested and put into jail in their efforts to urge governments to tackle the climate crisis.

In the UK, the police have a bad reputation and this sort of incident makes it worse. The British public have lost confidence in the police which don’t do nearly enough to tackle real crime.

For instance, years ago, they abdicated their responsibilities to tackle theft from supermarkets which has led to a surge in rampant and wanton theft from these stores resulting in price hikes which affect the innocent consumer.

The police cannot ignore what they regard as minor crime. There are almost no arrests of shoplifters or burglars in the UK any more. And the general criminal conviction rate is abysmally low at around 5% of all crimes.

RELATED: Great Thunberg passionately lectures world leaders on climate change but they won’t listen

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