'Three anti-fracking protesters have gone on trial accused of breaking an injunction designed to stop disruption of a fracking site in Lancashire.
Katrina Lawrie, Lee Walsh and Christopher Wilson took part in a “lock-on” at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, on 24 July last year, less than a fortnight after a judge granted an injunction to the energy company Cuadrilla.
It took police six and a half hours to separate the protesters as they sat locked together at the entrance to the fracking site. A number of other demonstrators were also involved, but Cuadrilla’s legal team was unable to track them down to serve them with court summons.
At Manchester civil justice centre on Tuesday, a lawyer for Cuadrilla argued that the three protesters breached the injunction by conspiring to obstruct the highway and trespass on the fracking site.
If found guilty they would be held to be in contempt of court. The maximum sentence is two years’ imprisonment. The protesters believe the injunction was unlawful because it impinged on their legal right to peaceful protest.
Last September, three anti-fracking protesters were jailed after being convicted of causing a public nuisance during a four-day protest at Preston New Road that blocked a convoy of trucks carrying drilling equipment. They were freed on appeal after three weeks when a judge ruled that their sentences of 15 and 16 months were “manifestly excessive”.
In the latest case, Lawrie, a full-time protester who lives at the Maple Farm “community protection camp” on Preston New Road, is also accused of obstructing lorries delivering to the site by sitting in the road for up to two minutes on two further occasions last summer.'
Read more: UK anti-fracking activists go on trial accused of breaking injunction
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