Plane Stupid’s Commons Five get minimal fine for Heathrow protest

13.11.2008   (HACAN press release)

“Not even a slap on the wrist: more like a tap on the little finger"


The five activists from the climate change campaign group Plane Stupid who went
on to the roof to protest against the alleged collusion between BAA and the Department
for Transport in drawing up plans to expand Heathrow were just given a minimal
fine by the judge at Westminster Magistrates Court today.   He fined four of the
defendants £365 each.   The fifth defendant, Tamsin Omond, was fined £150.   The
maximum fine could have been £5,000 and six months in jail.   They had been charged
with trespass under anti-terror legislation.

John Stewart, the Chair of the anti-Heathrow campaign group, HACAN, said, "This
is hugely embarrassing for a Government already reeling from a rebellion by its
own backbenchers over Heathrow.   This was not even a slap on the wrist: more like
a tap on the little finger."

The Plane Stupid 5 had argued in court that they had gone onto the roof to highlight
the alleged collusion between the Department for Transport and BAA in drawing
up plans to expand Heathrow.   The judge and the prosecution accepted that was
their motive.

The judge had before him statements from a number of expert witnesses: Norman
Baker MP, John McDonnell MP, John Stewart of HACAN (recently voted UK’s no.1 green
campaigner by the Independent), Pete Lockley, a policy analyst at WWF and Dr Kevin
Anderson, a climate scientist at the world renowned Tyndall Centre.

The Government is expected to make an announcement about Heathrow expansion next


Notes for Editors:

1)       The protestors on trial were Olivia Chessell, 20, Leo Murray, 32, Graham
Thompson, 34, Alexander George, 28, and Tamsin Omond, 23.


For more information:

John Stewart                               0207 737 6641; 07957385650

Leo Murray                                       07847 204 469

Graham Thompson         07828 632 136
see also


Fines for Plane Stupid protestors

News image

Five climate change protestors have been found guilty of trespassing on parliament.

Leo Murray, Alexander Richard George, Graham Thompson, Tamsin Omond and Olivia
Chessell were found guilty after a trial at City of Westminster magistrates court.

Omand, 23, of Belsize Square, was given a conditional discharge for 12 months
and fined £150.

Murray, 32, of Westcroft Square; George, 28, of Ridgeway, Wimbledon; Thompson,
35, of Northfield Rd; and Chessell, 20, of Emmanuel Rd, Cambridge, were fined
£150 each and ordered to pay £200 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Westminster magistrates’ court were told how the members of campaign group Plane
Stupid unveiled banners on the roof of parliament to protest against the proposed
Heathrow expansion after getting past security in February.

The prosecution alleged the group may have had help during their protest. All
five were seen on CCTV cameras but were searched by security who failed to find
the banners reading “BAA HQ” and “No Third Runway”.

Inspector Timothy Barfoot, who was on duty at the time, said that one of the
protestors contacted him after reaching the roof claiming they were from Plane
Stupid and that “everyone on the roof had been trained in non-violent protests”.

He added that a decision was taken not to forcibly remove the group until they
were closer to the edge of the building.

View London   13.11.2008

See also
Plane Stupid campaigners guilty of trespass
(Third Sector)   14.11.2008
Plane Stupid members guilty after anti-expansion protest
(Hillingdon Times)   14.11.2008
Plane Stupid Protestors found guilty, judge gives a token gesture sentence
(Indy Media)  
See Leo Murray’s account of the proceedings;
24.11.2008   on Index on Censorship.