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Three climate protesters glued their hands to a DLR train at Canary Wharf in April

Police officers attend the scene of the Extinction Rebellion protest at Canary Wharf DLR station on 17 April

Police officers attend the scene of the Extinction Rebellion protest at Canary Wharf DLR station on 17 April.
Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

A jury has expressed its regret at convicting three Extinction Rebellion protesters who glued themselves to a Docklands Light Railway train at Canary Wharf.

Cathy Eastburn, 52, Mark Ovland, 36, and Luke Watson, 30, were convicted at inner London crown court after halting DLR services in London’s financial district on 17 April, as part of a series of protests carried out by XR.

The activists had denied charges of obstructing the railway, claiming the protest was justified because of the threat of climate change.

Since October 2018, XR has waged a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience, including blocking roads, government buildings and other infrastructure, in an attempt to raise the alarm over manmade global warming and environmental destruction.

Climate protesters climb on top of train at Canary Wharf – video

The group encourages activists to allow themselves to be arrested when they break the law and hundreds have been charged and tried for various offences, but XR claims that Eastburn, Ovland and Watson are the first to have faced a crown court trial.

They were arrested during two weeks of demonstrations organised by XR that brought parts of London to a standstill over Easter.

During their protest, Watson, of Essex, and Eastburn, of south London, climbed on top of the train carriage and glued their hands to the roof. Ovland, of Somerset, glued his hands to the side of the carriage.

They had sought to use a defence of necessity, but Judge Silas Reid ruled it out and gave strong directions to the jury to convict the defendants. On Wednesday, after an hour of deliberations, the jury unanimously found the defendants guilty, but the foreman added the decision had been taken “with regret”.

Speaking after the verdict, Reid said he was minded to impose a conditional discharge, referring to the defendants’ “noblest of purpose”. The trio were released on unconditional bail and will be sentenced at the same court on Thursday.


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