Update (07/07/2020, 16:00) – HS2 Ltd and Governments application for committal of an environmental protester for breach of an anti trespass injunction at Crackley Woods – an area of ancient woodland being destroyed by HS2 – has been adjourned to the week commencing July 27th. Court to be confirmed. More information to follow.
Update (06/07/2020, 14:00) – HS2 Ltd and Governments application for committal has been adjourned, with a remote hearing tomorrow at 10:30 am to set directions for the final hearing.
The Secretary of State for Transport and HS2 Ltd have submitted an application to commit a peaceful protester to prison for alleged breach of an injunction. The hearing is listed for Tuesday (7th July) at 10 am at Birmingham High Court.
This is the first time HS2 Ltd have threatened imprisonment rather than financial consequences for breach of an injunction. They have targeted Elliott Cuciurean, 22, one of many environmental protesters calling for the destructive HS2 project to be stopped, along with the majority of the UK public.
Fellow activists are questioning why the young environmental protector has been singled out in this way. Cuciurean allegedly entered injuncted land at Crackley Wood, Warwickshire, where ancient woodland was being felled during nesting season. The threat of imprisonment is an aggressive and extreme step by HS2 Ltd – which smacks of desperation.
Robert Lizar Solicitors, representing him, have applied for an adjournment.
Statement from Robert Lizar Solicitors: “HS2 and the Government have applied for our client, a 22-year-old environmental activist, to be committed for breach of an anti-trespass injunction relating to an area of ancient woodlands at Crackley Wood, Warwickshire, which is currently being demolished to make way for HS2. Our client has been singled out amongst many other activists on the site. Unusually, rather than just applying for contempt of court, HS2 and the Government have specifically applied for our client to be committed immediately to prison. We are urgently applying for an adjournment of the hearing listed for Tuesday so that our client can properly respond to the allegations against him which engage important issues relating to the proper extent of the injunction and the human right to protest. We have instructed Adam Wagner of Doughty Street Chambers to act for Mr Cuciurean.”
More info to follow on this case.
The raft of injunctions preventing peaceful protest against HS2 continues in the High Court this Wednesday 8th July when Hillingdon council have a hearing to prevent peaceful protest on vast areas of land around a HS2 site in the Colne Valley. Notably, much of this land is already covered by an HS2 interim injunction and protestors feel this is yet another encroachment on freedom of protest and leaves HS2 free from necessary public scrutiny.
Injunctions have been used in Warwickshire to facilitate mass felling of ancient woodlands in nesting season and bat maternity season, despite HS2’s promises to the Woodland Trust that no felling would take place before Autumn this year. Other areas along the line have also been threatened with injunctions.
Also on July 8th, The Court of Appeal will hear broadcaster Chris Packham’s appeal regarding an application for permission for a judicial review of the way the Prime Minister’s reached their decision to proceed with the HS2 project.