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Rev Sue Parffit and Father Martin Newell.jpg
World News

Christian Climate activists found ‘not guilty’ over rush-hour train protest

by Kelly Valencia

Two members of the clergy and a former university lecturer have walked free from court, after a judge cleared them of obstructing a London rush hour train during an Extinction Rebellion protest in 2019.   

Former university lecturer Philip Kingston, 85, glued himself to the side of a London's Dockland Light Railway train while Rev Sue Parfitt, 79, and Father Martin Newell, 54, climbed onto its roof and said prayers for the planet.

The protest brought trains on part of London's Dockland Light Railway to a halt for over an hour.

Speaking from outside the court, Father Martin told Premier he wasn't expecting the not guilty verdict but was “delighted” with the outcome.

“Our barista had prepared us for the worst and I tend to be a bit of a pessimist myself by nature so I was sort of expecting the worst,” Fr Martin said.

He continued: “The jury saw the bigger picture. And I think one of the significant thing is that when we did that action in the winter, there was massive fires in Australia.. and all sorts of things that were extreme weather events have happened around the world since. I think the jury saw the bigger picture and realise, I think, like many other people, why were doing it.”

Rev Parfitt told the PA news agency she felt the verdict showed the protest had been "the right thing to do".

"It's wonderful that the jury saw the bigger picture, that the court has vindicated our action, and we hope it in some small way inspires others to feel that there may be sacrifices to be made, perhaps particularly by people of faith.”

Christian Climate Action said, "We are grateful that this court case has allowed the critical state of this climate emergency to be in the media."

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