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  1. ITV Report

Sheffield trees campaigner faces jail for flouting injunction

A campaigner is facing up to two years in jail after he was found in contempt of court for breaching an injunction to prevent direct action against tree felling in Sheffield.

Credit: ITV News

Calvin Payne appeared at the High Court in Sheffield on Friday along with two other campaigners, Green city councillor Alison Teal and Siobhan O'Malley, against the continuing felling programme in the city.

The case was dismissed against Ms Teal and Ms O'Malley's case was adjourned.

All three were accused of breaching an injunction obtained by Sheffield City Council earlier this year, aimed at stopping the direct action which had plagued its contractor Amey's attempts to fell hundreds of trees.

Mr Justice Males found Mr Payne was in contempt relating to a Facebook post he wrote, encouraging others to break the injunction.

But the judge has still to rule on a number of other allegations of contempt against him.

Credit: ITV News

Ms Teal was accused of one breach of the injunction relating to being inside safety barriers around a tree in Kenwood Road on September 25.

After legal argument about the "delineation" of a safety zone, the judge dismissed the case against the councillor.

Mr Justice Males, the same judge who imposed the injunction in August, told Ms O'Malley, who was not represented by a barrister, that he was adjourning her case for a week to allow her to seek legal advice.

He told her: "The consequences for you if you are found to be in contempt could be very serious.

"The council is inviting me to send you to prison if I find the contempt proved."

The injunction obtained by the council earlier in the year prevents protesters entering safety zone set up around trees being felled.

It also forbids people encouraging or facilitating anyone else to break the injunction, including through social media.

“We welcome the judge’s decision with regards to Calvin Payne and hope that the clear finding that he was in contempt of court means that people will now respect the injunction and allow the Council to continue with its vital highway improvement work. This was always a last resort for the Council but we are grateful that the court has recognised the seriousness of the situation. Ultimately, the programme will ensure an extra 600 street trees are planted and importantly, Sheffield will remain one of the greenest cities in the UK.”

– Councillor Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for environment and street scene at Sheffield City Council