British GP protesters found guilty
By Ian Parkes
Saturday 11th February, 2023 - 3:37am
Six ‘Just Stop Oil’ protesters who invaded the Silverstone track during last year’s British Grand Prix have been found guilty of causing a public nuisance.
Five of the defendants ran onto the circuit shortly after the race had been suspended following Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu’s horrific crash at the start of the race.
The quintet, who had gathered at the top of the Wellington Straight on the approach to Aintree, were forcibly removed by marshals while drivers returned to the pits.
The trial at Northampton Crown Court heard the group posed “an immediate risk of serious harm” to the drivers and marshals.
At the end of the two-week trial, a jury took just eight hours and 40 minutes to hand out guilty verdicts to David Baldwin, 47, Emily Brocklebank, 24, Alasdair Gibson, 22, Louis McKechnie, 22, Bethany Mogie, 40, and Joshua Smith, 29.
Although Baldwin did not take to the track, he was found in a car park with glue, cable ties and a ‘Just Stop Oil’ banner. The prosecution argued all six were “in it together”.
F1 drivers and marshals were at risk – prosecution
During the trial, video footage was played of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon in his Alpine driving past the protesters.
“There was clearly an immediate risk of serious harm being caused,” said prosecutor Simon Jones. “Plainly they could have been struck by fast-moving vehicles with obvious severe consequences.
“We say their actions also caused risk to the drivers themselves and the marshals.”
The defendants had all denied the charges. McKechnie said “meticulous planning” had been undertaken to ensure the protest was “as safe as possible”.
He said “the drivers are the best in the world” and “they would not even have flinched at something like this.”
The five protesters who invaded the track were found guilty by a unanimous verdict. Baldwin was guilty by a majority.
Sentencing will take place at Northampton Crown Court on March 31. The six face the possibility of imprisonment.
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