Jury clears Christian climate activists who climbed on top of train

Rev Sue Parfitt and Fr Martin Newell(Photo: Christian Climate Action)

Christian climate activists who prevented a Docklands Light Railway train from leaving a London station during rush-hour have been cleared.

Anglican priest, Rev Sue Parfitt, 79, and Fr Martin Newell, 54, stood trial this week alongside retired university lecturer Philip Kingston, 85, who is also a Christian. 

All three are members of Christian Climate Action (CCA), the Christian arm of Extinction Rebellion. 

They defended their actions at the Inner London Crown Court, claiming they had "tried everything else" before mounting the DLR train in October 2019. 

The activists staged the protest at Shadwell Station in East London, holding up commuters for over an hour. 

All three denied obstructing an engine or carriage on a railway.

They said in their defence that their actions were a proportionate response to the escalating climate crisis and a lawful protest under the Human Rights Act.

Judge Silas Reid had told the jury to consider protections for protesting under the European Convention of Human Rights, which he said "gives them and us the freedom of belief, expression and the right to freedom of assembly". 

"Are we sure that a conviction of the defendant for obstructing the railway is necessary in a democratic society in the interest of public safety, prevention of disorder or protection of rights and freedoms of others?" he said. 

Christian Climate Action said, "We are grateful that this court case has allowed the critical state of this climate emergency to be in the media."