Insulate Britain campaigner ‘surprised’ after judges impose suspended sentences



An Insulate Britain campaigner said she was “surprised” but “glad” after judges gave seven demonstrators suspended prison sentences following M25 protests.

Nine protesters were give prison sentences for admitting breaching an injunction, and being in contempt of court, at a High Court hearing in London.

But Lord Justice Dingemans and Mr Justice Johnson gave only two immediate jail terms.

Insulate Britain said the “leniency” of the sentences was in contrast to immediate jail terms handed to protesters by judges a month ago.

Police officers detain a protester in November at an Insulate Britain roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout at the junction of the M25 and A1 (PA) (PA Wire)

Rev Sue Parfitt, 79, from Bristol, was one of seven protesters given a suspended jail terms.

“I think we are surprised that seven of the sentences were suspended – but we are glad,” she told PA news.

“I think it shows as things move on the idea of sending peaceful protesters to prison is a nonsense.”

Wasn’t it worth me sitting on the motorways to flag (our) message, and to interrupt people’s lives for an hour or so, in order to protect our children?

An Insulate Britain spokesman added: “The leniency of the sentences was in contrast to the jail terms of between three and six months handed out to the first group of people from Insulate Britain, convicted on November 17th.”

Insulate Britain said protests would continue.

Lord Justice Dingemans and Mr Justice Johnson handed down sentences on Wednesday after National Highways took legal action against protesters.

They handed prison sentences, one of two months and one of 30 days, to two protesters, while the seven others received two-month suspended jail terms.

Judges also ordered defendants to pick up tens of thousands of pounds of National Highways’ legal bills.

National Highways claimed the protesters had breached an injunction and were in contempt of court.

Lord Justice Dingemans said each protester had accepted they had breached a court order and were in contempt.

The two judges heard that Insulate Britain had organised protests which disrupted and obstructed the M25 on several days in September.

A judge had subsequently made an order barring protesters from staging protests on the M25.

Further protests had taken place in October, Lord Justice Dingemans and Mr Justice Johnson heard.

Protesters had made impassioned speeches seeking to justify forming human roadblocks.

The protesters said they were compelled to act to highlight Britain’s so-called “leaky homes”.

Rev Parfitt had asked: “Wasn’t it worth me sitting on the motorways to flag (our) message, and to interrupt people’s lives for an hour or so, in order to protect our children?”

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