Climate campaigners who scaled Canadian High Commission in London walk free

Climate campaigners who scaled the Canadian High Commission in London for seven hours during a visit by Justin Trudeau have walked free from court.

Greenpeace volunteers Joanne Paterson, 52, Victoria Henry, 37, Frances Myles, 35, and 34-year-old Benjamin Bailes were are all charged with trespassing after building a huge makeshift oil pipeline in protest over a real one planned for Canada.

The campaigners – along with 26 others – blocked the entrance to the Commission in Trafalgar Square on the day Canadian Prime Minister Mr Trudeau was visiting.

They branded their makeshift pipeline ‘Crudeau Oil’ and scaled two entrance pillars to drop banners rebranding the building ‘Crudeau Oil HQ’.

Bailes, of Hornsey, north London, Henry, of Hackney, east london, Myles, of Kings Langley, Herts, and Paterson of Knockbain, near Inverness in Scotland, all pleaded guilty.

Bailes and Myles had previous convictions for trespassing, the court heard.

Alison Boffey, prosecuting, said: “When police arrived at the scene there were around 30 members who affiliated themselves with Greenpeace.

“The defendants Bailes and Myles climbed onto the right column.

“The defendants Henry and Paterson climbed onto the left column.

“They were present on the pillars for around seven hours.

“It was determined as too dangerous to let members of the public and staff into the building.

“Staff at the embassy were…”

Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot interrupted: “So it was a bit of a nuisance? It was irritating staff?”

Ms Boffey agreed.

Catherine Jackson, defending the four, said: “They accept full responsibility for their actions.

“There was no damage to the building, they were protesting a pipeline proposed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which poses a huge risk…”

Ms Arbuthnot said: “That’s fine I see.”

Addressing the four campaigners, she said: “I am giving you a conditional discharge of six months.

“That means if you commit a crime in the next six months you will be sentenced for this as well as that crime. That’s six months hanging over you.”

She also ordered them to pay £100 costs.

 

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