Ecoterrorism Vindicated in England

Apparently 6 vandals who cause $60,000 damage to a power plant in England were acquitted solely on the argument that they were helping stop global warming -- in other words, they admitted their vandalism, but said it was in a higher cause.

It's been a pretty unusual ten days
but today has been truly extraordinary. At 3.20pm, the jury came back
into court and announced a majority verdict of not guilty! All six defendants - Kevin, Emily, Tim, Will, Ben and Huw - were acquitted of criminal damage.

To recap on how important this verdict is: the defendants
campaigners were accused of causing £30,000 of criminal damage to
Kingsnorth smokestack from painting. The defence was that they had 'lawful excuse' - because they were acting to protect property around the world "in immediate need of protection" from the impacts of climate change, caused in part by burning coal.

So the testimony centered not on whether they actually vandalized the power plant - they never denied it - but on whether the criminals were correct to fear global warming from power plants.  I don't know much about British law, but this seems to be a terrible precedent.  Or maybe not - does this mean that I can go and legally vandalize every Congressman's house for wasting my money?


  1. John Moore:

    From all appearances, Great Britain has fallen to the barbarian hoards, so this is not surprising.

  2. Jonathan:

    I tend to agree that it's not a great outcome, but this is the ugly side of jury nullification...

  3. Tim:

    I'd say any precedent for jury nullification is a good one, given our current state.

  4. morganovich:

    I’m dying to go slash the tires of the cars owned by the jury. hey, it stops you from driving, and that’s good, right?

  5. Dr. T:

    "...does this mean that I can go and legally vandalize every Congressman's house for wasting my money?"

    Of course not, preserving your own hard-earned money is not a selfless and noble cause like protesting against non-existent anthropogenic global warming.

  6. K:

    The "greater harm" defense normally requires that the harm to be prevented is certain and immediate. Or appear so to a reasonable person. Preventing harm to a human is the best defense. Preventing harm to property is more suspect but allowable.

    The defendents planned to paint an advocacy message on a high smokestack. They formed a team, scaled the stack, and painted some - apparently not all - of the intended message.

    And during the trial they sold that to a jury as an act to prevent a certain and immediate danger to Earth?

    Yes, indeed they did.

    As others are quick to point out this defense can be used to justify virtually any act. For what can be more important than preventing certain and immediate danger to the Earth? So why not bomb company offices and kill a few people? Or shoot a government minister for promoting the wrong policies? Both those are petty acts when you trying to save the Earth and all mankind.

  7. Jon:

    It happened here in Minnesota a few (ten?) years ago. A couple of anti-war types walked into a Unisys plant at shift change time, mingling with the employees.

    Once inside, they threw fake blood on the manufacturing equipment, causing thousands - tens, maybe hundreds of thousands - of dollars of damage.

    When they appeared in court, Judge Miles Lord not only tossed the case out but praised the vandals for having the courage to take a stand against the war-mongering corporation.


  8. ElamBend:

    who will they complain to when the lights go out?

  9. Nick Brumer:

    Hey everyone this is my website
    - My website is free for people in England and you do not even need to register
    to use it.