united kingdom’s top criminal court overturns convictions of twenty-nine climate change activists

by Tim Phillips

In June 2008, climate change activists ambushed a freight train carrying coal to Europe’s largest coal-fired power station, Drax. An undercover Metropolitan police officer, Mark Kennedy, played a role in the protest. According to today’s Guardian article,

… the train was stopped by two men posing as Network Rail staff, wearing orange jackets and hard hats, who held up a red flag. Moments later, the train and a nearby bridge were scaled by the protesters wearing white paper boiler suits and carrying banners. The protest lasted 16 hours, causing delays to numerous freight and passenger services and the clean-up operation cost Network Rail nearly £37,000.

Today the United Kingdom’s top criminal court overturned the 29 activists’ convictions, because the prosecution failed to disclose Kennedy’s involvement and related evidence during the trial. This is the third case in the past few years in which charges have been dropped, or convictions overturned, because Kennedy’s involvement and related evidence was suppressed. Kennedy spent seven years infiltrating left-wing protest groups, traveling to 11 countries on 40 occasions, and slept with at least three female activists.

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