Charges against Extinction Rebellion activists arrested during London City Airport protests are dropped

Extinction Rebellion activists Ben Bont, Claudia Fisher, Senan Clifford, Phoebe Valentine and David

Extinction Rebellion activists Ben Bont, Claudia Fisher, Senan Clifford, Phoebe Valentine and David Lambert arrive at the City of London Magistrates' Court. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Charges against five Extinction Rebellion activists accused of aggravated trespass during a protest at London City Airport have been dismissed after an “abject failure” by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Facing trial at City of London Magistrates' Court were Claudia Fisher, 57, from Brighton, Phoebe Valentine, 23, from Brighton, David Lambert, 60, from Gloucestershire, Senan Clifford, 59, also from Gloucestershire, and John Burrage, 42, from West Wales.

They were accused of gluing themselves to the concourse between London City Airport and the DLR station in October last year.

But the charges were dismissed today (Tuesday, November 28) after a police officer who was due to be a prosecution witness was not given enough notice about the date of the trial and had booked a holiday.

Deputy district judge Vincent McDade said: "There has been an abject failure by the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that this case has been properly managed."

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He said the police officer who was to appear for the prosecution was required from the outset.

"Had the CPS acted efficiently and warned the witness as soon as possible after the case management hearing on November 7 this matter would proceed today with that witness giving live evidence," he said.

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The judge said the police officer - the officer who carried out the arrests - was considered a "vital witness to establish the lawfulness or otherwise of the arrests".

He said he had "no option but to dismiss all matters against the defendants".

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