Injunctions are scary sounding things, but that’s exactly what they’re meant to be. Fear, rather than actual prosecutions, is the primary means by which injunction orders succeed in shutting down protest. And you can understand why: if a court finds you guilty of breaking an injunction order, you’ll be held in contempt of court which, as Tommy Robinson has just discovered, can result in a custodial sentence.
Companies and public institutions that take out an injunction against campaigners typically rely on people’s rational fear of such punishment to dissuade them from continuing to voice their opposition to their activities.
But the truth is that despite numerous breaches of the injunctions at sites such as Leith Hill over the last 18 months, there has been neither an attempted nor successful prosecution of an anti-fracking campaigner for contempt of court.
In this context, it is worthwhile doing a little bit of myth-busting around the injunctions currently being used by fracking companies. Read more
This is a guest post by Netpol member Legal Defence & Monitoring Group (LDMG).
For (too?) many years, LDMG has been urging protesters who get nicked to plead not guilty, point out that being charged is not the same as being convicted. Even if it seems that you are bang to rights, there is a long way between arrest and trial.
17% – the chance of arrest
As you can see from the tables below, only 43 of the 100 cases we have monitored ever even went to trial. Of those that did, a number were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service at the start of the trial. A common reason for throwing the case out of court was the police not even showing up as witnesses, or offering no evidence, sometimes ‘losing vital tapes or documents. Read more
Options for activists arrested during ongoing direct action by solicitors against legal aid cuts
Netpol fully supports the direct action by solicitors firms around the country, who are currently protesting against government cuts in legal aid. This is our guide for anyone who is arrested and requires legal representation while the ‘strike’ continues. Read more
Netpol has produced new guidance for the anti-fracking movement on resisting police surveillance and understanding laws affecting protesters.
In October 2014 a roundtable event at Unite’s headquarters in London brought together campaigners and members of the Netpol Lawyers Group to discuss the policing of anti-fracking protests and the support that Netpol could offer.
Our new guides are a response to specific requests by activists, then and at subsequent meetings around the country. The advice and information gathered together for the first time covers resisting unwarranted and intimidating surveillance by the police and includes a legal reference guide that can help campaign groups to ensure the safety of protesters when planning actions that might potentially lead to arrests or legal action.
Over nine fact sheets, we have tried to respond to many of the most common questions, from both participants in protectors camps and from local groups who are organising meetings and street stalls. Unfortunately, there is growing evidence that many police forces classify any form of organised opposition to extreme energy extraction as ‘suspect’.
You can download the two guides – Resisting Police Surveillance and Understanding Laws Affecting Protesters – or the nine fact sheets individually. Each are also available online.
To find out more, visit Anti-Fracker Guides.
From drugs raids or searches of the homes of protesters accused of public order offences, Netpol’s partner groups are aware of widespread confusion about people’s legal rights if they are faced with a police raid.