“Security” fears means delay for anti-fracking campaigner’s court hearing

Tina Rothery at Blackpool County Court. The anti-fracking protestor is being sued by landowners backed by fracking company Cuadrilla over a three week protest on farmland earmarked for test  fracking near Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.
Tina Rothery at Blackpool County Court. The anti-fracking protestor is being sued by landowners backed by fracking company Cuadrilla over a three week protest on farmland earmarked for test fracking near Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.
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A well known anti-fracking campaigner facing jail has been told her case has been postponed due to security fears.

Tina Rothery from the Lancashire Nanas Group is facing 14 days in prison for contempt of court.

It stems from a law suit following a “Reclaim the Power” protest which took place in August 2014 on farmland near Little Plumpton owned by the Wensley family.

Hundreds of protestors camped on the field for three weeks, close to the site where gas exploration company Cuadrilla is set to drill and test frack for gas next year.

Ms Rothery had appeared at county court in Blackpool in June and was ordered to pay landowners backed by gas exploration company Cuadrilla £50,000 over the camp.

She did not and was served with a summons while on another protest at Buckingham Palace at the start of October with a court date of October 19.

She said she has been told she will be sent to Styal Prison in Cheshire to serve 14 days for contempt of court.

But this week she received another letter saying the hearing has been postponed.

It states: “Upon the court considering the safety and security issues which may arise at the hearing of 19th October 2016 and being advised that the Court at Blackpool may not be an appropriate venue IT IS ORDERED THAT:

“The hearing listed on 19 October 2016 be adjourned to a date to be fixed at a venue to be fixed.”

Ms Rothery said she was relived she would not be going to jail immediately but was still angry that she was being made an example offor the protest which involved hundreds of other people.

In the past she said: “This is an abuse of our system of justice. This is about deterring activists and making examples.

“Cuadrilla had us ‘evicted’ on the day AFTER we left. They were aware we’d gone as we filmed a fingertip search of the field and alerted police, media, Cuadrilla and landowner that we’d gone.

“The cost of the eviction-that-never-happened is £55,000 in legal fees alone.”

Today she said of the postponed hearing: “There were a large number of people planning to come as well as a few calls made to check details with court.

“I do though find this a bit of a bad implication to insinuate that we are troublesome - numerous yes, caring too, but never criminal or dangerous.

“I am relieved that Wednesday evening will not be spent in Styal prison, although annoyed that this still lingers as a threat