Court quashes convictions of 29 Drax campaigners

Twenty-nine environmental campaigners convicted of offences after a protest at the Drax power station in North Yorkshire in 2008 had their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal.

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Exposed undercover officer led to quashed convictions

Former undercover police officer Mark Kennedy, who spent seven years posing as campaigner Mark "Flash" Stone, is the reason why the convictions of 29 environmental protesters were quashed today by the Court of Appeal.

Undercover officer Mark Kennedy posed as an environmental protester Credit: The Guardian

Kennedy's actions previously led another case to collapse in 2011 when six environmental campaigners were accused of intending to storm the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire.

Kennedy's true identity was discovered by accident when his real passport was found

He went on to offer help to the protesters in the trial, causing the case to fall apart in the process.

It led to the-then Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, to invite the protesers to appeal and a review of undercover police tactics to be carried out.

Drax protesters call for inquiry into undercover police

Two of the Drax protesters whose convictions were quashed today, Beth Stratford and Robbie Gillet, said they hoped a public inquiry would be launched into the practices of undercover police officers.

Twenty-nine protesters were convicted in 2009 and 2010 after ambushing a freight train as it took fuel to the Drax power station in Yorkshire.

But their convictions were quashed after it was revealed that an undercover police officer had been part of the protest, and that his presence had not been disclosed by police during the court case.

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Drax protester 'relieved' and calls for public inquiry

Drax protester 'relieved' and calls for public inquiry

One of the Drax protesters freed today has said:

"I feel shocked at the lack of disclosure by the CPS and the collusion it seems between the CPS and the police in holding back evidence from the jury in our trail.

"We're relieved to have our convictions over turned, but still some bigger questions remain unanswered and require a bigger public inquiry in to the matter."

Drax convictions quashed over undercover officer

The convictions of 29 environmental campaigners were quashed today by the Court of Appeal because of a failure to disclose that an undercover police officer had been part of their protest.

In 2008 the campaigners ambushed a freight train as it took fuel to the Drax power station in Yorkshire, the largest coal-fired power station in Europe.

Protesters on a train carrying coal to the Drax power station in North Yorkshire in June 2008 Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive/Press Association Images

At Leeds Crown Court in 2009 and 2010 the peaceful protesters were convicted of obstructing engines or carriages on railways, which is an offence under the Malicious Damage Act 1861.

Former undercover officer Mark Kennedy spent seven years posing as Mark "Flash" Stone, and his actions led to the collapse of another case in 2011, which was brought against six protesters accused of planning to invade the coal-fired Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire.

Mr Kennedy's actions led to a police review of undercover tactics, and in 2012 Keir Starmer, the then director of public prosecutions, invited the 29 protesters to appeal their convictions.

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