Lewes climate change protester who glued his hands and feet to road is sentenced

A Lewesian climate change protester described how he glued his bare feet and one hand to a main road in Dover.

Friday, 15th November 2019, 10:30 am
Updated Friday, 15th November 2019, 10:31 am

Ronald West faced magistrates after being one of the Extinction Rebellion supporters who blocked traffic during a demonstration outside Dover Eastern Docks on September 21.

West, 67, in a statement to the court, said: “I, along with others, ran out onto the main dual carriageway leading out of the Port of Dover.

“I took my shoes and socks off and used superglue to glue one hand and the soles of both my feet to the road.

Ronald West. Picture: Kent Online

”This was done without having arranged any form of protection from the oncoming traffic, other than a couple of hi-vis jackets and a banner or two.

“The fact is, I was risking serious injury, if not death, if any of the drivers heading towards us hadn’t been paying full attention to the road ahead.”

He explained it was in protest against, as he saw it, insufficient action by governments to tackle climate change.

He continued: “We have no choice but to take action. My decision to take part in disrupting traffic on the morning of September 21, was not taken lightly or frivolously.

“It was my contribution to the worldwide climate change movement that is desperately trying to raise the alarm about the impending catastrophe.

“I am truly sorry that this action was necessary and for any distress caused to those going about their lawful business on that day.

”But it is, in the opinion of many, only as a result of actions such as this that governments around the world will be forced to act.”

Neil Sweeney, prosecuting, told Folkestone magistrates that West had sat in the middle of Jubilee Way with his left hand and both feet superglued to the tarmac.

He was arrested after being warned by police about his actions.

West was brought to court accused of failing to keep within a designated assembly and protest area, which was by the seafront.

He faced one charge, under the Public Order Act 1986, of failing to comply with a condition in a public assembly.

He had pleaded not guilty in a previous court appearance on October 23, but changed his plea to guilty.

West’s statement said: “The fact is I am guilty. Not just guilty of breaching the Section 14 (Public Order Act) notice, but guilty of being complicit in the privileged affluent lifestyle of a first world country that has stolen the future from those who live in the global south and from our own children and grandchildren in this country.”

Magistrates gave him a 24-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £100 costs and a £21 victim surcharge.

West, of previous good character, represented himself in court.

He is formerly of South Way, Lewes, East Sussex, and now of nearby North Way, and a retired council environment health officer.

In his statement he also said that he had lived for some years in Buddhist monasteries.

He added that in 1984 he had trespassed on Ministry of Defence property at RAF Molesworth (Cambridgeshire) as part of a CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) protest against 64 cruise missiles being stationed there.

His fiancée Georgia Corrie, attended the hearing to give him support and watched proceedings from the public gallery.

West was among eight people brought to court on the same public order charge following the September 21 protest.

Copy and picture courtesy of Kent Online.