Just Stop Oil activist jailed for six months for M25 disruption

Magistrate reportedly speaks of using Jan Goodey’s case as a ‘deterrent’ during court proceedings

A climate activist who disrupted traffic on the M25 has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Jan Goodey, 57, from Brighton, was jailed after pleading guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing a public nuisance after taking part in Just Stop Oil’s campaign of disruption on London’s orbital motorway earlier this month.

He is the first to be sentenced in relation to the disruptive protests, in which supporters of Just Stop Oil climbed gantries over the M25, the country’s busiest motorway, causing severe disruption to rush-hour traffic.

Just Stop Oil said Goodey was arrested on 7 November after climbing a gantry at junction 16. He was sentenced to nine months in prison, reduced to six months on account of his guilty plea.

According to the campaign’s report of court proceedings, the magistrate spoke of wanting to use Goodey’s sentencing as a “deterrent” against further disruption of ordinary people going about their “lawful business”.

The sentencing comes amid talk of a crackdown on Just Stop Oil’s campaign of disruptive protest, which has been under way in the UK since April. On Thursday, the home secretary, Suella Braverman, will summon police chiefs to Downing Street on the orders of the prime minister.

A government source has said Braverman has been told to instruct police to use all powers, including those newly granted to forces under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (PCSC) 2022, to “crack down on these groups and bring law and order to our streets and roads once again”.

Goodey was convicted of the new statutory offence of public nuisance brought in by the PCSC Act, which replaced an old common law offence of public nuisance, carrying a potential 10-year jail sentence.

Responding to Goodey’s sentencing, a Just Stop Oil spokesperson said: “This shows that our government would rather lock up peaceful protesters than put an end to new oil and gas.

“We know the course they are setting is going to destroy everything we know and love and that is why we must resist. We will continue to do everything nonviolently possible to stop this horror. This is what Jan has done.”

Two more Just Stop Oil supporters were due in court on Wednesday, the campaign said. Anthony Whitehouse and Arne Springorum were due to appear at 2pm, also charged with public nuisance.

Police said they were preparing to respond to a new two-week campaign of disruptive protest by Just Stop Oil in London, which began on Monday.


Damien Gayle

The GuardianTramp

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