More than 250 climate activists have staged a protest outside crown courts in various UK cities against the decision by the Attorney General’s Office to prosecute fellow activist Trudi Warner.
The 68-year-old retired social worker from Walthamstow, east London, was arrested in March after allegedly communicating to jurors with a sign during the trial of Insulate Britain protesters.
Warner is said to have held a sign saying: “Jurors, you have an absolute right to acquit a defendant according to your conscience”, as members of the jury arrived at Inner London Crown Court on March 27.
Judge Silas Reid had instructed jurors to decide the case according to the law and evidence and set aside any views they might have about climate change.
The Attorney General’s Office said last week it was moving forward with legal proceedings against Warner, who could face a maximum penalty of two years in prison or a fine if convicted of contempt of court.
Dr Abi Perrin, a molecular biologist in York who is also with the group Scientists For Extinction Rebellion, said: “In 2023, telling the truth is being treated as a criminal act, with people prosecuted for displaying facts in public and imprisoned for explaining their motivations in their own defence in a court of law.
“I am deeply afraid of a world where truth, science and morality are not important, or where we are not free to fight for them.”
The protesters sat with signs similar to Warner’s outside crown courts in Bristol, Manchester, London and other cities as jurors arrived for their respective trials.
They said if Warner was arrested for her sign, then all 252 activists should face the same treatment, daring the Solicitor General Michael Tomlinson KC to take further action.
Vivi MacDonald, 19, in Bristol, said: “The continuous measures by the Government to limit protest are threatening everyone’s freedom and ability to take action or express their opinion based on our own conscience in the light of the urgent need for social, political and environmental change.”
Warner’s case will be heard at the High Court on a date yet to be announced, it is understood.
The Attorney General’s Office has been contacted for comment.