Join Extinction Rebellion, eco-activist tells judges

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By Thomas Connelly on

Donnachadh McCarthy says climate protection needs greater backing from the bench, as judge reportedly tells protestors ‘you have to succeed’

Extinction Rebellion needs greater support from members of the judiciary, a prominent eco-activist has said.

Donnachadh McCarthy, an author and environmental auditor, says judges, prosecutors and the police face a tough “moral choice” following the sharp rise in climate change activism, drawing comparisons between those on the bench today and judges who oversaw the “legal persecution of Jews, gay people, gypsies [and] disabled people” during the rise of German fascism.

“Should they collude with the state protecting the genocidal fossil fuel corporations and banks”, asks McCarthy, who was arrested for his part in peaceful demonstrations on Waterloo Bridge in London last year, “or defend the people, climate and country they swore to protect?”

Writing in the Independent, McCarthy argues it’s time for “judges to stop colluding with the state oppression of those trying to protect Britain’s shores from literally being destroyed”.

He goes on to cite a number of recent examples of judges who have “already broken ranks”, including a US judge who refused to convict activists trying to block an oil pipeline, as well as a French judge that acquitted a pair of eco-protesters who removed Emmanuel Macron’s portrait from an official building.

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“This judicial climate rebellion does not, of course, mean the collapse in the rule of law, as all other laws would still be upheld”, McCarthy adds.

His comments come as a judge reportedly told Extinction Rebellion protestors “you have to succeed” during his sentencing remarks.

Six activists were charged with public order offences in the wake of last summer’s protests in Oxford Circus. Three were subsequently acquitted at City of London Magistrates’ Court and three were cleared, albeit on conditional discharges.

But it’s the judge’s comments which have attracted the most attention. According to the Mirror, District Judge David Noble said:

“I have to say I have been totally overwhelmed by all the defendants. It is such a pleasure to deal with people so different from those I deal with in my regular life. Thank you for your courtesy, thank you for your integrity, thank you for your honesty. You have to succeed.”

Last year we reported that the legal arm of Extinction Rebellion had descended on the Royal Courts of Justice, calling for the profession to “step up and take a positive role in tackling the biggest challenge facing our planet.”

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