Help the Extinction Rebellion DLR Canaries with their legal costs

by Cathy Eastburn

Help the Extinction Rebellion DLR Canaries with their legal costs

by Cathy Eastburn
Cathy Eastburn
Case Owner
I'm one of the "DLR Canaries". I'm 52 years old, a mum of two teenage girls, a musician, and I've been taking part in Extinction Rebellion actions since November 2018.
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Cathy Eastburn
Case Owner
I'm one of the "DLR Canaries". I'm 52 years old, a mum of two teenage girls, a musician, and I've been taking part in Extinction Rebellion actions since November 2018.
Pledge now

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Latest: Dec. 23, 2019

“With Regret, Guilty”

A hastily-written update to let you know what happened last week in court.  The jury found us guilty.  They were clearly not happy in reaching this verdict, as in giving the verdict they pe…

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Hi there!  

We are Cathy, Luke and Mark and we are the DLR Canaries.  We super-glued ourselves to the top and side of a DLR train at Canary Wharf in April as part of the first XR International Rebellion.  

We were arrested, sent to prison on remand and now face trial in December. Now we need your support - please consider contributing to our legal costs and share this page with your friends and family. 


Case Background 

Our action got onto front pages around the world, helped raise the profile of Extinction Rebellion and the climate emergency, and played a part in the massive shift in the public debate and understanding of that emergency.  It helped put the pressure on the UK government to take the first and necessary steps to urgent, decisive action being taken. For example Parliament has now declared a climate emergency and government is setting up a Citizen's Assembly on Climate. 

We were sent to prison on remand (Cathy for one week, Luke and Mark for almost two) and are facing trial in December, charged under the Malicious Damage Act of 1861. Our trial will be held in the Crown Court.  We look forward to the opportunity we have been given to explain in front of a jury why we felt compelled to act as we did, and to bring the discourse around climate breakdown more fully into the UK courtrooms and legal system. And we have a great legal team from Bindmans to help us!  

We expect that our trial will get a fair bit of public attention.  So we’re determined to make the most of it, to spell out why the government needs to tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency and to act NOW to protect the lives of young people, future generations, and vulnerable communities around the world who are already affected.  

We hope that at our trial we will have the chance to have our say and those following our trial will understand and agree with our views.  


How much we are raising and why? 

While one of us (Mark) may be eligible for Legal Aid, public funding is out of reach for two of us (Cathy and Luke). So we really hope that people might chip in to help pay the defence legal fees for us two. As with all legal cases, it is impossible to know in advance precisely what these costs will be.  But being a Crown Court case, we know they will be considerable: we expect to have to pay £thousands, possibly in five figures.

We've set an initial target of £4,500 to help us (Cathy and Luke) pay our share of the initial trial preparation costs.  The lawyers have to submit our draft defence statement soon so there's lots of work to do right now. 

Please help if you can, as we can’t do this on our own!  Every contribution is welcome, large or small.  Every penny counts. 

If through your generosity we cover all of Cathy and Luke's defence legal costs, any extra will go straight towards other Extinction Rebellion legal cases.  There are a lot of them!

If you are able to help, it would be great if you can do it now, to encourage others.  And please share this page now with your friends and contacts.

With love and thanks, 

Cathy, Luke and Mark  

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Update 4

Cathy Eastburn

Dec. 23, 2019

“With Regret, Guilty”

A hastily-written update to let you know what happened last week in court.  The jury found us guilty.  They were clearly not happy in reaching this verdict, as in giving the verdict they performed their own act of gentle rebellion: for each of us the foreman said “with regret, guilty”.  

It’s possible the jury felt they had no choice but to find us guilty, as on Monday morning, even before the jury were allowed into court, the judge ruled that our defence of “necessity” was not allowable and therefore we could not talk in our evidence about why we did what we did.  In effect, that meant the whole trial would boil down to the “bare facts” of whether or not we climbed onto the train that day.  Given that no-one was arguing about those bare facts, that meant there was no permitted defence left at all.

So the trial itself was somewhat bizarre.  Once the judge had made his ruling on Monday, we decided to stand down our barristers as there was nothing left for them to do.  That meant we were self-representing from Tuesday onwards, which was nerve-wracking.  But it gave us a chance to talk about why we acted as we did on that day, the need to take such a high-drama (and minimally disrupting) action to sound a powerful alarm, and the truth of the climate emergency that we are all facing.  This is because people representing themselves are given more leeway in court than professional lawyers.

As it turned out, the judge did allow us to talk a bit in our evidence.  But in his final summing up he reminded the jury that none of it was allowable and they could only consider whether or not we climbed onto the train and thereby obstructed it.  He wasn’t allowed to direct  the jury to find us guilty.  That’s illegal - as Mark reminded him in his closing speech, citing a case from 1670 that is so important it is commemorated on a plaque in the Old Bailey.  But in our opinion he did sail pretty close to the wind.

Given the judge’s ruling and his directions to the jury when summing up, we weren’t surprised to be found guilty. 

Our sentences are lenient: we were each given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a contribution towards costs (Mark and Luke: £300 each; me: £1166).

The judge’s shutting down of the defence meant that the trial was shorter than planned.  The prosecution’s evidence only took about an hour.  They were also affected by the ruling; the key witnesses they’d planned to bring in were no longer relevant and so were stood down.  We only took half an hour each in our evidence.  Our closing speeches were short and the prosecuting counsel didn’t make a closing speech, as convention dictates in trials where all defendants are unrepresented.  And the jury took only an hour to reach their verdict.  We were found guilty on Wednesday and sentenced on Thursday.

We are now exploring the possibility of appealing.  If we appeal this will of course be very pertinent to any other XR crown court cases coming up that are planning to use the “necessity” defence.  So we will consult everyone involved before making a decision.

Although the judge’s ruling out of our defence was harsh, and meant we could not defend ourselves as we wished, in other ways the experience was really positive.   I found self-representing not to be  as terrifying as I alway assumed it must be.  We managed to give persuasive, well-structured and moving testimony, even while having to keep a close eye on the judge, as we were expecting him to shut us down at any moment.   As it turned out, the judge was surprisingly lenient in letting us speak without interruption.   There was positive media coverage, a chance to talk about the unfolding climate emergency and the need for action... including in the Mail!  Our closing speeches were pretty good (I think!!) and I will try and upload them.   

It was incredibly comforting and reassuring to see our friends and supporters coming to court each day to sit in the public gallery.   And our legal team from Bindmans and our barristers (who were there at the beginning until the judge’s ruling and came back to represent us for sentencing) were fantastic in every way.  They were all incredibly impressive, professional, supportive and clear in their advice to us.  Our utmost and grateful thanks to them.  

Finally a massive thank you to everyone who has helped us with the legal defence costs by supporting our crowdfunder.  We are hugely grateful and really really touched by this support.  The sense of togetherness and mutual support is wonderful.

Apologies for the slightly rambling update, but I really wanted to let you know all this before the Christmas break.

We’ll keep you posted about whether or not we decide to appeal.  Ih the meantime, all the best for a restful festive holiday.

Love from Cathy x











Update 3

Cathy Eastburn

Dec. 6, 2019

Preparing for our trial - and possible additional costs

Time has flown by since my last update - the small matter of the Autumn Uprising in October might have something to do with that!

Luke, Mark and I, plus our lawyers, are busy now getting ready for the trial, which starts in 10 days, on 16 December. It’s at Inner London Crown Court, in Southwark, and is expected to last all that week. It would be fantastic if you were able to come along for any of it. There is a public gallery in the court, and as far as I know members of the public can come and go more or less as they please. Court hours tend to be 10-1, and 2-4/5-ish. I will try and find out more details about how it all works and post on here, as it would be lovely to see people there if you can make it.

There has always been a certain amount of vagueness in estimating what our legal fees are going to be as we have been unsure how long the trial will last for and who will need how much representation. We now realise that our legal defence costs are likely to be significantly more than we originally thought (probably around £3700 more) and we’ve updated this crowdfunder to ask for help in meeting these possible additional costs.

So this is a very gentle request: if you didn’t pledge first time round, and you feel able to do so now, or if you feel able to put in a little bit more, or if you know anyone who might be interested in reading about this trial and might contribute... any contribution, of any size, would be fantastically welcome and make a big difference to us. And if our legal defence costs come in at less than what has been raised, the extra funding will go straight towards the defence costs of other XR trials.

Please spread the word if you can! You can do this by sharing the link to our Crowdjustice page on your social media, or emailing to your friends and contacts, with short message of your own at the top... let me know if you need any help with this.

Whether or not you’re able to help us this time round, I just wanted to say another HUGE thank you to everyone that’s supported us so far, whether that’s by donating to this crowdfunder, by spreading the word, or in other ways. It is so great to feel that this is a group effort. Luke, Mark, our wonderful lawyers and I might be the ones in court this time, but it really feels like very many people are involved in this, and in equally crucial ways. You know who you are.... Thank You.

Much love from all three of us,

Cathy x

Update 2

Cathy Eastburn

July 21, 2019

Defence statements submitted... and nearly reached our target!

We are completely bowled over by the amazing response to this crowdfunder, which is now just £101 away from the target.  Thank you everyone!  This is incredibly heartening and encouraging.  If you are able to share the link with your friends that will help us make that final step to reach the target.

Also this week our lawyers have served our defence statements and witness notices for our trial.  These are the bare bones of our defence, and over the next few months we and the lawyers will be working on fleshing these out to ensure we can present our defence effectively in court.

Our trial starts on Monday 16 December and is expected to last a week.  It will be in Inner London Crown Court, in front of a jury.  If you're able to come along and support us, that would be fantastic!  

We'll keep you posted between now and then, but in the meantime just to say again a massive THANK YOU.

Love from Cathy, Luke & Mark xxx

Update 1

Cathy Eastburn

July 7, 2019

Initial target already met! THANK YOU!!

Luke, Mark and I have been completely blown away by the positive response so far to our crowdfunder.  We reached the initial target within 24 hours of launching, which is incredible!  

Many, many thanks to everyone who has given so far and/or spread the word about our crowdfunder.  We now have just over 3 weeks until it ends.  During that time we want to reach our "stretch" target of £10,000, as this is the amount that our lawyers have told us is a likely estimate of the total defence costs for Luke and me (Mark's costs will hopefully be paid for by Legal Aid, so they're not included in the crowdfunder). 

So please do continue to share the link to the crowdfunder to anyone that might be interested.  And if you haven't given already, please consider giving something if you can, to help show the courts that we're canaries not criminals!!

Thank you and much love,

Cathy

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