IslingtonTribune

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Archway XR activist asks judge who sentenced him: Fancy joining us?

Extinction Rebellion climate protester is fined for public order offence at Oxford Circus

24 January, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Jackson Caines outside the City of London Magistrates’ Court

AN Extinction Rebellion (XR) activist asked a judge to join the movement against climate change after being sentenced for his part in shutting down Oxford Circus.

Jackson Caines, who lives in Archway, was found guilty on Tuesday at the City of London Magistrates’ Court of failing to comply with public assembly conditions in the Public Order Act.

He had been among protesters from XR who had halted the traffic in central London last April.

The 26-year-old set out his defence on the grounds that his protest was a “moral necessity” which aimed to “save lives” by raising the profile of the climate emergency.

But District Judge Briony Clarke did not consider this a valid defence and Mr Caines was found guilty along with two other defendants.

He was given a conditional nine-month discharge and a £330 fine.

Mr Caines told the Tribune after the case: “The verdict was guilty so I was unable to convince the judge legally that I was correct. I knew I was unlikely to achieve that, but I hope I can influence them on a personal, moral and human level.”

He added: “Maybe the judge and the prosecution will go home and reflect on what I have said about the climate crisis.

“Maybe they will become activists like all of us. I am extending a friendly invitation for them to join us in a historically important fight.”

The prosecution had called Superintendent Duncan Macmillan to testify against Mr Caines and his co-defendants.

Mr Macmillan, who was in charge of operational policing during the demonstrations in April, gave the Section 14 order to clear Oxford Circus.

Mr Caines, who works in local government, said: “The judge was reasonable and indulged us and gave us a chance to say our piece.

“She made it clear she was not disputing the science, which was welcome, but on a narrow legal basis we were guilty.

“She kept saying, ‘this is a court of law not a court of morals’.”

He added: “Our arguments of necessity failed to convince her because she could not see direct imminent connection between our actions and the loss of life. The analogy of a burning building was used. Our defence would work if, say, we broke down a door which we had to do to save a child inside.

“One of my co-defendants made the case that Australia is burning at the moment, but that isn’t a direct link as carbon emissions have a delayed effect.”

Asked if he will be protesting again any time soon, Mr Caines said: “We’ll see.”

XR have staged a series of protests urging governments to declare a climate emergency.

Earlier this month, the non-violent group took legal advice after it was revealed it had been grouped with extremist organisations in a counter-terrorism policing documents.

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