Extinction Rebellion activists guilty over train glue protest

Extinction Rebellion activists guilty over train glue protest

Cathy Eastburn, Mark Ovland and Luke Watson

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PA Media

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Mark Ovland (front), Luke Watson (top left) and Cathy Eastburn (top right) were found guilty

Three Extinction Rebellion activists who glued themselves to a train have been found guilty of obstructing the railway.

Cathy Eastburn, Mark Ovland and Luke Watson were charged after a protest halted Docklands Light Railway services at Canary Wharf station on 17 April.

A jury at Inner London Crown Court unanimously found the trio guilty.

Judge Silas Reid said most defendants do not come to court “for such noble purposes”.

Watson, 30, Eastburn, 52, and Ovland, 36, all denied obstructing an engine or carriage using the railway and will be sentenced on Thursday.

Jurors convicted the defendants after an hour of deliberations, but the foreman added it was “with regret”.

Extinction Rebellion, an activist group whose protesters are urging government action on climate change, said the trial was the first to be dealt with by a crown court as opposed to a magistrates’ court.

The trio were arrested during two weeks of demonstrations organised by the group, which brought parts of London to a standstill.

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PA Media

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Extinction Rebellion said it had warned the relevant authorities of their actions beforehand

Watson, of Manuden in Essex; Eastburn, of St Gerards Close in Lambeth, south London; and Ovland, of Keinton Mandeville in Somerton, Somerset, have been released on unconditional bail.

In her closing speech to the court, Eastburn, who spent a week in prison on remand, compared the action to raising the alarm when your house is on fire.

Watson told the court the group warned the relevant authorities of their actions beforehand and had chosen a station that was above ground to avoid unnecessary distress.

Judge Reid indicated that a conditional discharge was possible, telling the jury: “I don’t see at the moment that there’s any possibility of any of these defendants going back to prison.”

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