08:14, October 17 266 0 theguardian.com

2018-10-17 08:14:05
Court quashes 'excessive' sentences of fracking protesters

Three protesters jailed for blocking access to a fracking site have had their sentences quashed by the court of appeal, which called them “manifestly excessive”.

Sir Ian Burnett, the lord chief justice, said: “We have concluded that an immediate custodial sentence in the case of these defendants was manifestly excessive.

“In our judgment the appropriate sentence was a community order with a significant requirement of unpaid work. But these appellants have been in custody now for two weeks, the equivalent of a six-week prison sentence. As a result, and only for that reason, we’ve concluded that the only appropriate sentence is a conditional discharge.”

The activists, Simon Blevins, 26, Richard Roberts, 36, and Rich Loizou, 31, were jailed after a four-week trial last month led to their convictions for causing a public nuisance for a protest at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in Lancashire.

The packed courtroom erupted with applause and some supporters began singing after the decision was announced.

Loizou’s father, Platon, said: “Justice has been done today. We shouldn’t be here in the first place, but justice has been done.”

More details soon…