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Retired social worker facing possible prison sentence for contempt of court

Judge Silas Reid ordered the arrest of Trudi Warner, a retired social worker and Insulate Britain supporter, who stood outside Inner London Crown Court last week with a placard aimed at jurors in a trial of climate protestors.

13/04/23

Retired social worker facing possible prison sentence for contempt of court

A retired social worker is facing a possible prison sentence for contempt of court.

Trudi Warner, 68, is accused of holding up a sign aimed at jurors during the trial of four climate change protestors from the group Insulate Britain. The four, Julie Mecoli, 68; Stefania Morosi, 45; Nicholas Till, 67; and Louise Lancaster, 57, were accused of causing a public nuisance by blocking traffic in the City of London last October. All were subsequently found guilty by the jury.

Ms Warner’s sign said, ‘Jurors: You have an absolute right to acquit a defendant according to your conscience.’ It is alleged that she held the sign up near to the entrance of the judges’ car park, which was also being used by jurors, and that she showed the sign to people she believed were jurors on that particular trial.

Her placard referred to a ruling by Judge Silas Reid, who had imposed an order preventing the protesters from mentioning climate change in their defence. Several similar orders have been met with protests and the legality of those orders is being challenged in the court of appeal.

Last week (4th April) Ms Warner went before Mr Justice Cavanagh at the Old Bailey for ‘contempt in the face of the court attempting to influence the jury.’

Protesters supporting Ms Warner held placards outside the court, quoting a tablet on the wall outside the Old Bailey. It commemorates the 1670 acquittal of William Penn and William Mead by a jury who refused to obey the judge’s instructions. The tablet celebrates the ‘right of juries to give their verdict according to their convictions’.

Justice Cavanagh ordered that the case be referred to the Attorney General. Ms Warner’s barrister, Raj Chada, a partner at HJA, said, ‘this is an important case about what can and be said about juries.’ He added that it could be several weeks before the Attorney General makes a decision. She could decide to take no further action, proceed with the contempt charge, or refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for investigation. Ms Warner has been told she would be taken into custody if she continued to protest.

Picture: Twitter

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