Climate activist Jan Goodey has been sentenced to six months in prison for disrupting traffic on the M25.
Goodey was participating in Just Stop Oil’s campaign of disruption whereby supporters climbed gantries over the M25 to interrupt rush-hour traffic. The campaign claims in their report of court proceedings that the magistrate intended Goodey’s sentence to be a ‘deterrent’ against further disruptions caused to ordinary people impacted by the protestors’ actions.
Goodey has been convicted of the new statutory offence of public nuisance which was introduced by the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (PCSC) 2022. The sentencing of Goodey follows considerations of cracking down on Just Stop Oil’s disruptive campaign. Home Secretary Suella Braverman will summon police chiefs to Downing Street, as ordered by the prime minister. It is thought that Braverman will instruct the police to use all their powers, including the powers newly granted by the PCSC Act, to ‘crack down on these groups and bring law and order to our streets and roads once again.’
In response to Goodey’s sentence, a spokesperson for Just Stop Oil said the sentencing demonstrates that ‘our government would rather lock up peaceful protestors than put an end to new oil and gas’, and that they ‘will continue to do everything nonviolently possible to stop this horror.’
Further Just Stop Oil protestors were due to appear in court to be arraigned on public nuisance charges. The police are preparing to respond to a further two-week disruptive campaign by Just Stop Oil which began this Monday in London.
The protests also resulted in a civil order in the form of a high court injunction imposing penalties on activists for protesting on the M25. The injunction was secured by National Highways to ‘prevent unlawful protests’ after a series of protests and significant disruptions. The injunction, lasting for a year, will allow contempt of court proceedings to be launched against anyone engaging in similar conduct on the M25. Those convicted can face imprisonment, an unlimited fine, seizure of assets, or a combination. The injunction also specifies about 65 individuals arrested by the police for the M25 protests.