It was always going to end this way and today it did. Five of the young men involved in the farcical and futile anti HS2 tunnel protest in Staffordshire that ended in June have been sentenced at Birmingham Crown court over the past two days. A copy of the High Court directions order can be found here.
Two other people (Rory Hooper and Leanne Swateridge) gave undertakings under which they are now prohibited from trespassing on any HS2 land and interfering with the project in any way. These undertaking are valid for 2 years.
Yesterday one protester was jailed for a total of 331 days. I haven’t seen this person’s identity confirmed as yet but there’s only one name missing out of the seven defendants listed on the Directions order…
Two others received prison terms of 184 days and 156 days, suspended for two years, plus fines and court costs. These are William Harewood (aka ‘Satchel’) who also received a £3000 fine and Liam Walters who received a £2000 fine.
A fourth, David Buchan (aka David Holiday) who wasn’t in the tunnels but who was present on injuncted land was sentenced to 100 days in prison, plus a £1500 fine and court costs. He’d refused to turn up to court, with the inevitable consequences.
Today, the final protester and repeat offender, Elliott Cuciurean will be sentenced. I’ll update this blog when I have confirmation of his sentence.
Apart from wasting time, money and their own lives these people have achieved the sum total of zero. The Hs2 ‘Rebellion’ collapsed some time ago without stopping HS2 in the slightest. They may be seen as ‘martyrs’ by some but the truth is most people won’t even notice. The court cases have attracted minimal publicity, just like the 47 days they wasted holed-up in a pointless tunnel. The world’s moved on and so has HS2, which has reached several construction milestones (and will see several more) whilst these people languish in prison. It’s been very telling that the moribund anti HS2 Facebook and other social media pages are mostly ignoring the court case. It seems clear that hardly anyone’s turned up to protest outside, which is another obvious sign of just how their campaign’s collapsed.
Now there’s no more active camps left, just an ineffective handful of people who’ve been allowed to camp on a farmer’s land near Jones’ Hill wood (the one the protesters lied about having a connection with Roald Dahl) which is futile as all the tree-clearance work was completed long ago and now construction of the HS2 trace is well underway.
It’s noticeable that the Facebook pages of some of the protesters have suddenly vanished. Hardly surprising as they helped provide evidence of their contempt of court! ‘Drew Robson’ (Andrew McMaster) who was one of the most prominent and gobby of the protesters has taken his down.
Not that it matters as the hopeless protest movement really is all over now. These cases are hardly going to encourage other people to be as foolish as the likes of Harewood and Cuciurean. The money’s dried up, the volunteers have dried up – and so has the media interest. So much so that another High Court case in London on the 28th March slipped under the radar. HS2 ‘rebellion’ kept quiet about it too – for obvious reasons – as it shows how many of their high-profile protesters have been neutered.
This case involved some of the protesters from another futile tunnel protest, this time the one at Euston. It involved decades long failure to stop anything, Larch Maxey – along with Daniel Hooper (aka ‘Swampy’), Isla Sandford, Juliet Stevenson-Clark and Bethany Cooke, who all ate humble pie, as the wording of the judgement explains. It also makes clear that if it wasn’t for HS2 Ltd agreeing to their grovelling, they would have been jailed.
“The Defendants apologised to the court for their actions and undertook not to trespass on land which is being used for the HS2 project, to obstruct or interfere with the Claimant’s operations or to train others to do so. This outcome was acceptable to the Claimant and, in the light of this and for the reasons explained in the judgment of Linden J, the court was persuaded, albeit reluctantly, that it should make the order applied for.”
Both these court cases (along with others) show how the small band of people who made up the hardcore of the anti HS2 protests are now out of the game. The pool of activists was always more of a puddle. Now that puddle’s dried up.
Now the focus swings to the huge amount of progress being made on building HS2….
UPDATE (29th July).
Elliott’s case was adjourned until September with no date fixed for the case to be heard, so the saga drags on until then.
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Reduced to a tiny band of keyboard warriors on social media trolling out the same old regurgitated hyperbole and mythology, some not even doing that in their attention seeking vain attempts to make themselves feel superior. And failing at whatever they try.
ann arko said:
hope you get shot in the head bigland.
Paul Bigland said:
Here’s a great example of the ‘peaceful’ protesters in action. This and another threat have been posted by the same cowardly and anonymous person. I’ve allowed it through as it shows what these people are really like.
I hope you reported that comment to the police Paul. Presuming they used a fake name, does your website track by IP address and if so can the scum that wrote that we traced back?
James K said:
‘The world’s moved on and so has HS2’ but sadly Paul Bigland hasn’t……., like a scrappy little dog wanting to continue the fight!
Paul Bigland said:
People are entitled to know what’s happening and the few hangers-on to these silly protests aren’t telling the truth about anything, so it’s left to people like me to dig out the facts and show what happens when a few fools think they can ignore High Court injunctions with impunity! But don’t worry! As the past couple of days have proved, HS2 ‘rebellion’ are finished. Hardly anybody turned up to ‘support’ the protesters. hardly any of the protesters myriad Facebook or other social media accounts even carried the news of the court cases – never mind the results. The mainstream media showed a complete lack of interest as this shambles isn’t even news anymore. Stop HS2 is dead, which means there’s nothing for me to report on now other than the ever increasing on progress with building what these foolish protesters were never going to stop. HS2. Next up will be a blog on a site visit to one of the new green tunnels being built – and there won’t be a protester in sight….
I’m not even sure why they bothered with that Bluebell tunnel given the total lack of interest in stopping HS2 now. Angry faces on their Facebook groups doesn’t translate to real interest.
Speaking of which, it seems most of the Facebook groups have moved on to protecting sites nothing to do with HS2 now.
Paul Bigland said:
These things have always been little more than PR and fundraising stunts, designed to separate mugs from their money to fund the protesters – although God know how much money and equipment simply disappears as there’s no accounts and no-one responsible for keeping any. It’s just one big scam really.