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Latest 11 August 2023

Facing prison for holding a placard

Trudi Warner held up a sign reminding jurors they could decide a verdict according to their conscience and now could face up to two years in prison. We’re helping her fight back.

Retired social worker Trudi Warner, who faces a possible two years in prison, is asking the Solicitor General to stop proceedings against her for contempt of court. Her alleged crime? Holding a placard.

In March, Warner was standing outside a court in London, where climate protesters were on trial, and held up a sign reading: “Jurors: you have an absolute right to acquit a defendant according to your conscience.”

This legal right was established in 1670, after a judge imprisoned a jury for reaching a verdict he would not accept. The incident gave rise to a new ruling that juries have the freedom to reach decisions independently. Yet holding this sign was enough to put Warner in front of a judge at the Old Bailey – a building with a plaque at the entrance that declares the same legal right.

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Twenty-four protesters have carried similar signs since March, but have not been charged.  The Solicitor General, who has written to Warner, acts as chief legal adviser to the Government. We believe the potential proceedings against Warner form part of the Government’s chilling campaign to crack down on peaceful protest.

Threatening Warner with contempt of court undermines the role of juries and attacks the right to free speech – two fundamental pillars of democracy in Britain, which defend us from authoritarianism.

Good Law Project helped Warner find a solicitor who is expert in protest law – the same solicitor who is advising two other protesters who were recently silenced in court. We are campaigning with Warner to raise awareness about her case and to help her fight to protect her rights. If Government restrictions on protest are left unchallenged, democracy is at stake. Help us shine a light on these oppressive measures. Help us stand up for justice.