Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Today in Court & Day 44 in the Cuadrilla House...

Today in Court & Day 44 in the Cuadrilla House (from Miranda)

Court:
A hearing to put an injunction in place on land at Preston New Road was arranged late last week, for this morning and as the named defendant, I should have had papers delivered and time to prepare. I didn’t. They had used an address my daughter had left last year and had not bothered to use my email (we have corresponded before) till late Friday night. So I went in this morning with a rough idea of three aims but too little time to prepare and no legal representative due to short notice and being away at the start of last week in Norway. The three aims:

1-stop the injunction (always a long shot but had to be the aim) based on insufficient cause
(plan B on this was to at least have them make clear this was a ‘fresh’ injunction and not a continuation of the one that was in place 2014-2016)

2-stop the proposal of a ‘protest pen’ - as ridiculous, unnecessary and a dangerous idea of ‘designated protest areas’.

3-remove my name from any further legal actions as the injunction naming me, has ended and I have not done anything wrong.

In the end, only one of the three aims was achieved – there is no protest pen. The judge confirmed the injunction was a ‘fresh’ one but that I am still named on it as I said things on my blog and in an interview that sounded threatening. A case of my bite presumed to be worse than my bark? This video (thanks to John Ozric ) summarises pretty much the key outcomes of today’s day in court…


I want to say a huge thank you to Simon who was outside court when I got there this morning and provided much valued support – that I hadn’t thought I needed till I had it :) I didn’t make a fuss about this court appearance, barely mentioned it partly because time did not permit and also because I knew there wasn’t much anyone would be permitted to contribute.

I went on my own but saw that a few others from the anti-fracking movement were in court – I had no idea they would be or that their intent was to ‘join the case’ by adding a name but maybe this was due partly to short time-frame. Their purpose was to challenge the important ‘protest pen’ issue but the judge did not add the new name or grant the adjournment they requested. As the argument for the removal of the pen was achieved anyway during the afternoon session – the judge agreed that the size and purpose of the pen was unrealistic and provocative – we were all pleased that this was achieved regardless.

An adjournment would have been useful and I would have valued one but I was aware of a line in the documents that said ‘costs would not be sought if the case was uncontested’ – but of course an appeal or adjournment would be a different matter – I explained to the judge that this therefore meant I could take no time to prepare due to the threat of even more costs against me as the only ‘named defendant’. I said this felt like bullying by Cuadrilla’s lawyers in that they were essentially saying that if I just accepted all that they said, they wouldn’t add more costs in my name.

IF activists had the access to the privilege that Cuadrilla has – we would wipe the floor with their useless ‘evidence’ that amounted to testimony from ONE witness (employed by Cuadrilla!) and some very carefully selected (out of context in some cases) photos... but we can only play the hand we’re dealt in this very rigged game and the day ended at least with one aim in the bag and the rest of it… is what it is. An injunction is hardly a shock – of course Cuadrilla don’t want Protectors all over their land and will do all they can to keep us out. My name remaining on it – well that’ll be down to my lack of self-censorship and I fear that there is nothing I care to do about that. The lines they quoted from me involved saying things like “…you won’t like us when we’re angry – back off Cuadrilla!” and the slightly more questionable “…we didn’t take your field today Cuadrilla but it doesn’t mean we won’t…” or words to that effect. Hardly a commitment to a planned invasion! I accept though that words have power and what is gained in using them to target investors – is lost in court rooms accusing you of being threatening.

Final word tonight goes in thanks to those who sent such warmly welcome messages and replies and especially to Simon whose kindness negated some of the ugly reality of what Cuadrilla do, in order to get their drills in our land and how justice can be played, if you can manipulate it. Thank you <3 span="">

Meanwhile… at the roadside of Preston New Road today:
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Day 44 - Roadside was yet again brutal.
After a reasonably calm start to the day, anxiety and tension permeated as midday approached. We spent the morning watching service vehicles be treated with a pressure wash before leaving site. The mood was lighter and some protectors spent time engaging in three legged races, relays and light hearted chat. All the time aware that the atmosphere would change as soon as a delivery required facilitation.

The numbers of protectors ebbed and flowed throughout the day. We saw old friends as well as new faces. By old friends I mean personally people I have bonded with over the past 2 and a bit months...A short time, but the changes witnessed and the experiences shared, create bonds. After a few deliveries in the morning, helped along by a containment of protectors, a lorry arrived which piqued our interest. Unmarked curtaining and the way it was unloaded just aroused our curiosity....A supplier was concealed. Maybe a new tactic? The afternoon saw brutal tactics from the police, manoeuvres and dragging on people that were completely disproportionate. The cruelty was horrific.
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Image thanks to Ros Wills