The co-founder of Extinction Rebellion has been found guilty of criminal damage after she broke a window at the Department of Transport during a protest in 2019.
On Wednesday Dr Gail Bradbrook was unanimously found guilty by a jury following her admission that she had no defence in law.
During an October 2019 protest organised by the activist group, Ms Bradbrook climbed onto a canopy at the Department for Transport’s headquarters, before using tools to break a pane of reinforced security glass.
The specialist glass cost £27,500 to replace because it had to meet specific security standards and had to be carried out quickly.
Ms Bradbrook had argued in court that authorities should be prosecuting the politicians and corporations causing criminal damage on a ‘planetary scale’, and not the people trying to stop harm.
She also alleged that the Department of Transport’s controversial HS2 project – now cancelled – formed part of the motivation for her actions. Citing reports by the Times newspaper she alleged the scheme was a multi-billion pound fraud on the British public, as well as being environmentally destructive.
She had also argued that the damage was legally necessary and that government officials may even have consented to the act had they known why she was doing it.
However, the judge directed the jury that this did not amount to a defence, and at one stage reportedly warned he may look to use anti-jury tampering powers amid a dispute over what the accused could tell jurors.
Ms Bradbook will be sentenced on 18 December after the judge indicated he would consider passing a suspended custodial sentence once he had obtained a pre-sentence report, though the conviction could carry 18 months in jail or more.
Speaking after the verdict, she said: “I’m at peace with the verdict. The judge gave the jury no choice by directing them that even if I did what I did to protect my own children, that was no defence in law.
“What does it tell us that there is no accountability for those causing damage on a national and planetary scale, the oil bosses and financiers, and those responsible for the billion pound fraud on the British public that is HS2, but that a mother taking action to protect her children, according to the scientific evidence, is treated as a criminal? Trust in a system that reaches such inhuman conclusions can’t last.”
XR says that of 40 members of the group to face a jury trial so far, 21 have been acquitted.