Friday, 4 September 2009

Statement from the Drax 29 Defendants

The following message has gone out from the Friends of the Drax 29 defendants, who were sentenced today:

The Drax 29 were sentenced today, and after the guilty verdict of two months ago, it’s pretty amazingly good news. Despite the guilty verdict, something in the way they presented their actions to the judge must have got through to him.

You’ll remember that the defendants mounted their own defence, arguing that their action of stopping a coal train from reaching Drax power station was a necessary and proportionate response to the damage done and lives threatened by the station’s coal burning.

It’s also worth remembering that back at the start of the trial, they were worried about being sent to prison for their actions – which makes today’s sentencing even more remarkable.

Five of the 29 were given 60 hours of community service each. The rest were given a 12 month conditional discharge – in other words they will receive no further penalty. Three of the 29 were ordered to pay £1000 each in fines and court costs. Three of the defendants will be sentenced on the 2nd October, but the outcomes should be roughly the same.

This is a massive moral victory, and I guess it reflects the amazing job they did of defending themselves. On the steps of the court, Jonathan [Stevenson] summed it up - saying that they were pleased with the leniency of the sentences, and that they had no regrets about their actions, which they still feel were reasonable and necessary. Indeed, he said, many of the 29 will be going along to ‘The great climate swoop’ at Ratcliffe power station on the 17th-18th August.

Thanks for all your support over the past two months – it was much appreciated by the defendants. Lots of you will have donated £29 to their legal defence fund, and this will definitely help ease the financial burden of defending their actions.

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