Blind Climate Activist Released from Wandsworth Prison

Given bail while judges consider James Brown's grounds for appeal

James Brown after his release from Wandsworth Prison

Members of XR Wandsworth are celebrating the release of climate activist James Brown from jail this Wednesday evening (8 December).

The group had been keeping a vigil outside Wandsworth Prison to protest at what they described as the injustice of the incarceration of the blind former Paralympian.

Mr Brown had been given his jail sentence after he climbed on the top of a plane at London City Airport on 10 October 2019.

He has appealed and the three appeal judges ruled that, while they are considering their decision, Mr Brown should be released from jail on bail. He was then escorted from the prison at 8pmfor an emotional reunion with his daughter Alice and his supporters.

Earlier in the day, at the Royal Courts of Justice, the Court of Appeal heard arguments from Mr Brown’s lawyers that there had been no reason to charge him with causing a public nuisance. They questioned the proportionality of the decision to bring the charge, and said he could have been charged with aggravated trespass. They also contended that the 12-month term was ‘manifestly disproportionate’ and said he was suffering ‘unique hardship’ in prison because of his disability. Judges will deliver a final judgement on his prison sentence and conviction at a later date.

Since 24 September, XR Wandsworth, supported by other XR groups, have kept watch for an hour a day outside the prison.

XR Wandsworth protestors hold vigil outside the prison
XR Wandsworth protestors hold vigil outside the prison

On 16 November, Mr Brown was joined in HMP Wandsworth by 36-year-old Tim Speers, one of nine jailed Insulate Britain activists, sentenced to four months.

Battersea resident and XR Wandsworth member Peter Harrison said, "As the emergency worsens and more activists are given custodial sentences, we feel increasingly that politicians are becoming more draconian. Over 50 years ago a Times editorial said, ‘Who breaks a Butterfly on a Wheel?’ As then, now.”

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December 10, 2021