Just Stop Oil protesters who sat on lorry acquitted over depot protest after land argument

Three women who sat on top of a lorry at a fuel depot in a Just Stop Oil environmental protest have been acquitted of obstructing lawful activity.

The trial was held at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court. Photo: Google
The trial was held at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court. Photo: Google

Ruth Lanser, 26, Abigail Percy-Ratcliff, 23, and Hannah Torrence-Bright, 41, were all cleared after a barrister successfully argued that the land on which they were protesting on April 3 last year was not private.

The trial at Wolverhampton Magistrates' Court began on Monday, and District Judge Graham Wilkinson heard from witnesses including the driver of the Sainsbury's lorry that the three women stood on.

People associated with the environmental activist group Just Stop Oil, including the three defendants, staged a protest at the Esso depot at Wood Lane in Birmingham shortly after 5am on April 3 last year. During the trial the court was shown photos of the three women on top of the lorry with a Just Stop Oil banner draped down its side.

The three defendants had been accused of obstructing or disrupting lawful activity, and the court heard that the site had entered a state of 'shutdown' for several hours after the protesters approached the lorry.

But on Wednesday morning, Ruth Lanser's barrister, Rosalind Burgin, successfully argued that prosecutors could not prove to the court that the land where the lorry was stopped, on the edge of the depot site, was private.

As a result the prosecution offered no evidence against any of the three women, and they were all acquitted.

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