Saturday, 23 April 2011

(1) Ratcliffe on Soar ... (2) The Robin Hood Airport case

The protests at Ratcliffe on Soar power station were covered by Law and Lawyers in January.  The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has now issued a very important statement.   The legal representatives of 20 protesters convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass have been invited to appeal the convictions.  As a statement by Mike Schwarz (legal representative of those convicted) notes, there are many, as yet, unanswered questions in relation to this disturbing case.

The Jack of Kent blog considers the appeal by way of case stated in the Paul Chambers case.  Mr Chambers was convicted - under the Communications Act 2003 s.127 - for "tweeting" in relation to Doncaster (Robin Hood) Airport being closed by snow in the early part of 2010.  His "tweet" said - "Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get
your s*** together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!"

This form of appeal, from Crown Court to the High Court, is rather unusual.  It arises because Mr Chambers was convicted in Doncaster Magistrates' Court (by a District Judge sitting alone) and there was an appeal to the Crown Court (heard by a judge sitting with two magistrates).  The Crown Court upheld the conviction.  It is the Crown Court which has been asked to "state a case" for consideration by the High Court and the appeal is intended to deal with the legal interpretation of the 2003 Act.  To that end, the Crown Court has set out a number of questions for the High Court to answer.  This and other matters are discussed in CharonQC's excellent "Without prejudice" podcast.  The House of Lords in DPP v Collins [2006] UKHL 40 considered a similar matter.  For an earlier post on this case - see here.

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