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BARTON MOSS CONTAMINATION EVIDENCE TO BE HEARD IN COURT
 

Star date: 18th June 2014

EXPERTS TO PRESENT IGAS DRILLING SITE CONTAMINATION REPORT

`The experts' report could be dynamite...'

At Liverpool High Court today a Judicial Review concluded that a report by experts examining contamination of land at Barton Moss could be presented as defence in trials for alleged offences during anti-fracking protests at the IGas exploratory drilling site in Salford.

If the experts' report can prove that IGas' activities contaminated land at Barton Moss and the company is guilty of criminal damage, it could see the end of fracking attempts in Salford and the collapse of charges levelled at Barton Moss protectors.

Full details here…


Barton Moss Protests Salford Barton Moss Protests Salford
click image to enlarge

"It appears to me that if we are not to seek to defend the right to peaceful protest and right to freedom of speech, it places us all in a world not far removed from a dictatorship..." Simon Pook

Today, the Liverpool High Court overruled a decision made at Manchester Magistrates Court, which means that a report by experts into contamination of land above the IGas exploratory drilling site at Barton Moss can be used as evidence by defendants charged in relation to anti-fracking protests.

If experts can prove that there was contamination and IGas is guilty of criminal damage to the land, then the defence of those charged with offences intended to stop the company from proceeding with its activities is strengthened.

A judgement could also have huge consequences for the expected fracking planning application to be put to Salford City Council later this year, while huge numbers of cases which haven't already been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service will probably collapse.

The experts' report could be dynamite. And its contents will be revealed during the next protector's case that comes to court, possibly this week.

"It was our position that it was right and necessary to seek a Judicial Review on the ruling made in Manchester Magistrates Court" says Simon Pook of Robert Lizar Solicitors, which is handling most of the protectors' cases.

"Our clients are all charged with aggravated trespass" he adds "Under s68 CJPOA the core is whether the activity is lawful. Our clients maintain that the activity is not lawful because it causes contamination that may amount to criminal damage.

"They rely on the recent case of Richardson" he explains "If the activity on the land has at its core a criminal activity this may be a defence. In order to support this argument we (Robert Lizar's) obtained a report from our expert to consider, amongst other things, contamination."

Simon Pook, who has already called for an Independent Inquiry into the policing at Barton Moss, and is compiling a dossier on the policing for the United Nations, is once again scathing of the authorities attitudes and actions towards the Salford anti-fracking protests…

"It appears to me that if we are not to seek to defend the right to peaceful protest and right to freedom of speech, it places us all in a world not far removed from a dictatorship" he says "I will always seek to defend my clients' right and hold the state to account for the actions of those who act on their behalf."


See also previous Salford Star articles…

* Ecocide Lawyers and Experts Visit Barton Moss – click here

• 29 Barton Moss Anti-fracking Cases Discontinued as Solicitor Slams GMP – click here

Photos by Steven Speed

Main photo shows expert gathering contamination evidence at Barton Moss under the watchful eye of Simon Pook

Martin wrote
at 22:36:31 on 19 June 2014
@Jenny "they have committed the offence" Doing an illegal act does not seem to bother this council and the chances of getting the corrupt courts or dodgy GMP to deal with then, your on a road to no where. I have a whole list of offences by this council most are criminal.
 
Jenny Ross wrote
at 05:41:04 on 19 June 2014
Great news for our protectors. Huge respect to Simon Pook. This is great news for people lobbying their councils for areas to be potentially opened up in 14th round. To risk contamination of land is an offence under Section 78A(2) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Just the risk is an offence. If councils attempt to mitigate this risk they have committed the offence so this evidence must be presented to them so they are made aware the buck stops with them.
 
Helen wrote
at 22:44:52 on 18 June 2014
Here we are at the heart of the matter. This industry is not capable of acting in a safe, non polluting manner, the so called robust regulation of gold standard in this country has been proven to be noting more than soundbytes. The Environment Agency investigated this pollution incident with....A PHONECALL. This industry is self reporting self monitoring and marking its own homework an A* when it is not even a pass. Justice will be dealt. Do not mess with The Moss
 
Chaz wrote
at 22:44:31 on 18 June 2014
They are ALL so very very f***ed :) Victory smells like this lol
 
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