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Newtown teacher guilty of Buckingham Palace eco protest (Eco news)


Newtown teacher guilty of Buckingham Palace eco protest
Reading Post reported

A teacher from Newtown was among four climate change protesters who chained themselves to the gates of Buckingham Palace.

Part-time philosophy teacher Peter Cotton Coville, 45, from Riversdale Court, Fiona Brookes, 23, Cyril Zeldine, 34, and Philip Thornhill, 57, tied three banners to the historic gates during a four-hour stand-off with police on June 23, this year.

 The stunt was staged to coincide with a United Nations summit on sustainable development, which took place in Brazil on the same day. The four activists were handed conditional discharges after admitting breaching obscure bylaws that ban protests in St James’s Park without prior permission from the Government.

Prosecutors at Westminster Magistrates Court successfully argued that the gates to the palace technically formed part of the park, and so were covered by the rules.

Sentencing on November 9, District Judge Michael Fanning told them: “This protest, no matter how good the intention, is an offence because you did not gain prior permission.” Judge Fanning also ordered each defendant to pay £247.50 in prosecution costs and compensation.

 The group’s banners carried the demand: “Climate Emergency: 10 per cent annual emissions cuts.” They hoisted themselves on to the gates at around 2pm, and were cut down using a cherry-picker more than four hours later.

 Colin Gibbs, prosecuting, told the court: “There was no damage but there were costs incurred by the police to take the defendants down.”

All four defendants had faced a joint trial on charges of making public speeches and erecting banners in the park, but those charges were dropped after they agreed to admit taking part in an unauthorised protest instead.

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