May 2023: Health professionals protest to defend people’s rights in a trial by jury

Posted by: Hils - Posted on:

When people appear in court, charged with offences related to the climate crisis, they should be able to give evidence about the beliefs which led them to commit this offence. And juries should be able to hear these beliefs and give their verdict according to their own convictions. This right was first established in 1670 and is displayed on a plaque at the Old Bailey. Yet Judge Silas Reid has sent people to prison just for uttering the words “climate change” and “fuel poverty” in his courtroom.

When Trudi Warner, a retired social worker (pictured above) held up a sign stating this right outside Inner London Crown Court, Judge Reid had her arrested too, accusing her of contempt of court.

In solidarity with Trudi, 24 people, including 8 health professionals, a priest, retired Detective Sereant and Quakers held up the same sign outside the Crown Court, and sent Judge Reid a letter explaining their action. Although they expected to be arrested this did not happen, even when they resumed their protest the following day. In fact Judge Reid Judge Reid backed down, compromising any attempt to prosecute Trudi Warner. He has instead referred the case to the Attorney General.

Dr Alice Clack explains the reasons for this protest here