Green Party MP to face prosecution over anti-fracking protest

Green Party MP Dr Caroline Lucas has confirmed she would be prosecuted after taking part in anti-fracking demonstrations.

According to the MP, she remained "deeply concerned" about the impact of fracking following the Crown Prosecution Service saying there was sufficient evidence to charge her and that it was "in the public interest" to prosecute her "for breaching a police order on public assemblies and willful obstruction of the highway". 

Dr Lucas was last month arrested while protesting  outside the Cuadrilla drilling site in Balcombe, West Sussex.

She added, Sussex Police had confirmed she was being charged with two offences arising out of her arrest in Balcombe on 19 August.

She added, one of the offences was for obstructing the highway, while the other was for failing to comply with a police condition to move to a specified protest area.

She said she firmly believed in the right to peaceful protest and remained deeply concerned about the impact of fracking on climate change and the wider environment.

She said she had been advised by her lawyer to make no further comment at that stage.

The MP had been sitting with a crowd of protesters outside the entrance to the site for the better part of the day when officers when the police led her away and put her into a police van.

Dr Lucas, whose constituency is around 20 miles from the site of the protests, was arrested and later released on bail.

As she was led away, she said she was proud of the people around her who had put their bodies where the police were. She said they had tried to use the democratic processes, tried to raise the issue through those democratic panels.

She said, the government was not listening adding that climate change was the greatest threat that the UK was facing and she thought that people were right to try and take action against fracking.

According to Nigel Pilkington, a senior CPS lawyer, after careful consideration, the CPS had concluded that there was sufficient evidence and that it was in the public interest to prosecute Lucas for breaching a police order on public assemblies and willful obstruction of the highway.

Lucas would appear at the Crawley Magistrates' Court on 9 October. 

She said in a statement: "Sussex Police have today confirmed I am being charged with two offences arising out of my arrest in Balcombe on 19 August.