NINE Insulate Britain activists have been JAILED and face paying £91,000 after flouting a ban on blocking the M25.
Two eco-zealots were handed three month sentences, while six were imprisoned for four months after admitting they defiantly blocked motorway traffic on October 8.
Nine Insulate Britain activists have been JAILEDCredit: Alamy
Insulate Britain activist Louis McKechnie walks into The High Court for sentencingCredit: LNP
Insulate Britain caused chaos by blocking motorway traffic this yearCredit: Alamy
The ninth activist Ben Taylor was jailed for six months after he vowed to keep blocking the motorway if he wasn’t locked up.
He told the High Court this week: “I will go and block the motorway at the earliest opportunity and will continue to do so until the Government makes a meaningful statement and acts on it.”
Judge Dame Victoria Sharp blasted Ben’s comment as “inflammatory” and dubbed them a “call to arms”.
She said the six-month sentence sought to “deter (him) from committing further breaches”.
Ben Buse, 36, Ana Heyatawin, 58, Louis McKechnie, 20, Roman Paluch, 28, Oliver Roc, 41, Emma Smart, 44, Tim Speers, 36, James Thomas, 47, and Ben Taylor were seen glumly walking into London’s High Court this morning.
They now face paying a £91,000 fine after it was requested by the prosecution.
Ben Taylor was jailed for six months after he vowed to keep blocking the motorway if he wasn’t locked upCredit: LNP
Emma Smart is seen waving to loved ones outside court todayCredit: LNP
Ben Buse, Roman, Oliver, Tim and James were jailed for four months, along with Emma who plans to go on hunger strike throughout her sentence.
Ana and Louis were handed three-month sentences.
The activists were seen hugging and saying goodbye to loved ones outside court – as crowds turned out to support them.
All nine previously stood by their protest, which caused chaos for hard-working commuters last month.
Dame Victoria sharp said there was no alternative to custodial sentences given that the group’s actions were so serious and they had made it clear they intended to further flout court orders.
She said: “The defendants, or some of them, seem to want to be martyrs for their cause and the media campaign surrounding this hearing appears designed to suggest this.
“We, however, have to act dispassionately and proportionately.”
During their appearance today, family and friends shouted “I love you” as the group were carted away to their cells to begin their sentence.
Chants of “we are unstoppable, another world is possible” rang out through the court – until the judge put a stop to it.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps took to Twitter after the sentences were handed down.
He said: “Every motorway and major A road in the country is now covered by injunctions preventing people from blocking the road – anyone who causes misery to motorists may face prison.
“I’ll continue to do all I can to protect road-users and prevent dangerous, disruptive behaviour.”
Yesterday, protester Oliver, 41, admitted he was “close to tears” and “cr**ping himself at the prospect of jail time.
But Ben, 37, took on a more defiant stance, adding: “If you send each of us away, 100 people will step forward and take our places.
“If you send 100 of us away, 1,000 people will step forward to take our place. If you somehow manage to stop all non-violent protests, then things will only turn violent.”
The High Court has so far issued five injunctions to prevent protesters from blocking roads.
They include four injunctions granted to National Highways, banning demonstrations on the M25, around the Port of Dover and on major roads around London, and one to Transport for London (TfL).
TfL was granted a civil banning order aimed at preventing protesters from obstructing traffic on some of the capital’s busiest roads.
Those who breach the injunctions could be found in contempt of court and face a maximum penalty of two years in prison or an unlimited fine.
Myriam Stacey QC – representing the Government – told the court on Tuesday that the injunction banning protest activity on the M25 motorway was granted by a High Court judge on September 21.
She said it was accepted by National Highways that the protests fell into the category of “civil disobedience”, and that a National Highways official had described the action as “unprecedented and sustained”.
Ms Stacey said further committal proceedings will be issued against other Insulate Britain protesters by the end of the week, relating to protests on October 27.
She also said evidence is currently being gathered to bring proceedings in relation to protests on October 29 and November 2.
Ms Stacey had earlier told the court the legal costs of bringing proceedings against the nine activists had reached £91,000.
She argued the judges should make an order for the costs against the defendants and that – even if they are unable to pay them – such an order would be an “important symbol”.
Dame Sharp said she and Mr Justice Chamberlain will give their decision on costs in writing at a later date.
So far, 161 people have been involved in the roadblock campaign and there have been more than 800 arrests.
A statement from the nine activists jailed was read by an Insulate Britain supporter outside the Royal Courts of Justice after the ruling.
It read: “Over the last nine weeks, 174 ordinary people have held the Government to account, asking that they deliver on their most basic of duties, to protect the British people, the economy and all we hold dear in our society.
“Your Government has now chosen to act. It has chosen to imprison us for this demand.
“By imprisoning us, the Government shows its cowardice. They would rather lock up pensioners than insulate their homes.”
The Insulate Britain protesters were seen outside court todayCredit: i-Images
Activists looked downtrodden as the Insulate Britain nine were jailedCredit: LNP
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