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Jailed anti-fracking protesters in Lancashire released

Protesters outside PCC - fracking in Lancashire

11:25am 17th October 2018
(Updated 2:39pm 17th October 2018)

Three anti-fracking protesters who were jailed last month have been released after appealing their sentences in court today.

They appeared on a video link live into the High Court in London. 

Simon Blevins, 26, and Richard Roberts, 36, were given 16-month prison sentences and Richard Loizou, 31, was told he had to spend 15 months in jail back in September. 

They were the first anti-fracking protesters in the UK to be sent to jail. 

The protesters have now been freed by the Court of Appeal and given conditional discharges. 

This means they will not be sentenced for an offence unless a further offence is committed within a certain time period. 

Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said the jail sentences handed to the men for causing a public nuisance were "manifestly excessive".

He said:

"In our judgment the appropriate sentence which should have been imposed on September 26 was a community order with a significant requirement of unpaid work.

"But these appellants have been in prison for six weeks.

"As a result, and only for that reason, we have concluded that the appropriate sentence now is a conditional discharge for two years."

The packed courtroom erupted with applause and some supporters began singing after the decision was announced.

More than 100 protesters for 'Free The Three ' traveled to show their support outside the court for them today: 

 

 

Platon Loizou, father of Richard, said:

"I'm over the moon, justice has been done today. We should never have been here in the first place. But what is done is done and now we must concentrate all our efforts on making sure fracking is stopped in the UK. This is an emergency and fracking is a disaster.

"I will be attending the demonstration at Preston New Road on Saturday and I want every person my age and who is retired to be there - not for my son, but for their children and their grandchildren."

Rosalind Blevins, mother of Simon, read a statement upon the announcement:

"I'd like to say a huge thank you to the many thousands of supporters - friends, strangers, academics, politicians, trade unions - who condemned the harsh sentence and cried out for the right to peaceful protest. Personally it has meant so much to have your support and belief in us and the three."

Michelle Easton, partner of Rich Roberts said:

"We're absolutely ecstatic this is the best possible outcomes. A massive injustice has just been righted. Massive thanks to Kirsty Brimelow QC and the legal team."

Cuadrilla started fracking in Lancashire earlier this week. 

More news from across Lancashire

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