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Extinction Rebellion’s legal victory run continues

·2-min read

Extinction Rebellion activists are celebrating a third legal victory in the latest of a string of successful appeals at the Old Bailey.

Artist Amelia Halls, 23, spoke of her relief after her conviction for obstructing the road near London City Airport in October 2019 was quashed.

It had followed a call by Judge Mark Dennis QC for the Crown Prosecution Service to review 10 cases being heard over a fortnight in light of a Supreme Court ruling in June.

So far this week, the Crown has offered no evidence against three appeals in as many days.

Extinction Rebellion court case
Extinction Rebellion activist Amelia Halls (centre), with Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman Zoe Blackler and Riz Choudhry, outside the Old Bailey, central London (Emily Pennink/PA)

On Thursday, Alex Slater, for the Crown, said Ms Halls’ case would not be resisted following the “case by case review” in light of the Ziegler ruling, which dealt with the issue of whether there was a “lawful excuse” for blocking a highway and proportionality.

Judge Dennis asked for an update next Wednesday on the outstanding appeals, saying: “The appellants will need to be told what is happening.

“What I really want is an update from the respondents whether they are continuing or not.”

He added: “When we asked the question ‘what’s happening to the outstanding appeals?’ we would be doing so on the basis a decision was being made – either the appeal was appeal-ready or the appeal is not going ahead for the reasons which caused the issues this week.”

Speaking outside court, Ms Hall, from Stamford in Lincolnshire, said she was “really happy”.

Ms Halls, who is poised to begin a masters degree in anthrozoology, said: “It’s a huge relief for me and I’m extremely grateful this has happened and my appeal has been successful.

“This is the third one in what will hopefully be a lot more successful appeals.”

Referring to the impact of the Supreme Court ruling, she added: “In these obstruction of the highway cases, what I did was proportionate.”

Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman Zoe Blackler said it was “encouraging” the CPS is now recognising the Supreme Court ruling.

On Wednesday, Judge Dennis criticised the CPS for not having grasped the implication of the ruling on other road obstruction protest cases, or the “basic human rights point that has been there for a very long time”.

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