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Chester anti-frackers on trial next month

Borough councillor is among the nine defendants who have all pleaded not guilty to a variety of offences

 

Anti-fracking activists – including a Labour councillor – face a trial next month after being arrested at the time of the eviction of Upton anti-fracking camp.

The defendants were among protesters to hold a peaceful demo outside Chester Magistrates Court on Friday (September 9) where the trial date was set for October 18.

Chester MP Chris Matheson dropped by to show his support on his way to an unrelated meeting at Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC).

CWaC councillor Matt Bryan (Lab, Upton) is one of the nine accused who face a trial after pleading not guilty to a variety of offences.

Anti-fracking camp at Bridge Trafford evicted

Cllr Bryan, of Kings Crescent West, Chester, maintains his innocence in relation to a charge of obstructing/resisting a constable in the execution of their duty.

The councillor is believed to have been apprehended after allegedly climbing on top of a cherry picker about to be used as part of the January 12 clearance operation carried out by bailiffs at Duttons Lane supported by police.

Energy firm IGas had intended to set up a coal bed methane test drill at the Upton site but strangely abandoned its plans just three weeks after the eviction, attracting the ire of then Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer who unsuccessfully attempted to recover the £200,000 policing costs.

The protest camp was established in April 2014 on the land earmarked for the drill.

Chester MP Chris Matheson, pictured with Labour Cllr Matt Bryan, who turned up to support his colleague and the anti-fracking protest ahead of Friday's court case.

 

Other defendants are: John Thomas Hall, 50, of George Street, Chester, charged with resisting/obstructing a constable; Amelia Bish, 28, of Horse Hill Protest Camp, Hookwood, Surrey, charged with resisting/obstructing an enforcement officer; Lanner Davis, 24, of Horse Hill Protest Camp, Hookwood, Surrey, charged with resisting/obstructing an enforcement officer; Trky Edward Cairns, 41, of Borras Community Camp, Borras, Wrexham, charged with failing to comply with a section 35 direction excluding a person from an area.

Potential fracking sites near Mickle Trafford come into focus

Also charged are: Jamie Douglas Watson, 33, of Belmont Avenue, Ayr, charged with resisting/obstructing an enforcement officer; Louise Hammond, 52, of Cedar Avenue, Scunthorpe, charged with resisting/obstructing an enforcement officer and Richard Burcumshaw, 65, of Oxford Grove, Bolton, charged with assaulting a constable in the execution of his/her duty and section 5 public order and Simon John Stafford-Smith, 38, of Bridge Trafford Community Protection Camp, charged with failing to comply with a section 35 direction excluding a person from an area during an incident alleged to have taken place two days after the camp eviction on January 14.

District Judge Michael Abelson is due to preside over what is scheduled to be a two-week trial at the city magistrates court although it is likely to take less time than that.

Guilden Sutton survey shows 76% of residents oppose fracking

 

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