News Walthamstow

Walthamstow pensioner to be prosecuted for contempt of court after climate trial protest

Trudi Warner, 68, could face two years in prison or a fine for holding up a sign informing jurors of their ‘absolute right to acquit a defendant according to [their] conscience’

By Marco Marcelline

Trudi Warner holding her sign. Credit: Just Stop Oil

The Attorney General has confirmed that a Walthamstow pensioner will be prosecuted for contempt of court for holding up a sign outside a trial on Insulate Britain supporters.

The move means Trudi Warner, 68, could face up to two years in prison or a fine.

Trudi held up a sign outside a climate trial at Inner London Crown Court in March that stated: “Jurors: you have an absolute right to acquit a defendant according to your conscience.”   

Trudi had held the sign up as jurors arrived at the court on 27th March. Trudi was also challenging judge-imposed restrictions on the defendants that prevented them from mentioning climate change or property insulation in their defence.

In a public statement, The Attorney General’s Office confirmed that court proceedings would be launched against Trudi.

The statement said: “Contempt of court is a serious matter and the power to issue proceedings is used sparingly.

“When investigating potential contempt issues, the law officers assess whether the evidential test for the specific form of contempt is met.

“In this case, the law officers considered the deliberate act of doing something that interferes or creates a real risk of interference with the administration of justice, and whether it is in the public interest to begin proceedings for contempt.

“We can confirm the Solicitor General has determined to institute proceedings against Trudi Warner in the public interest, it will now be a matter for the court.”

Supporters and friends of Trudi rallied around to voice their opposition to the Attorney General’s decision.

Friend Juliette Brown told the Echo: “It’s shocking that contempt of court could be contemplated for holding a sign outside court. We still have a right to freedom of expression and Trudi was simply repeating an incredibly important principle of our justice system. Jurors must be allowed to do their job, to hear the whole truth and to decide based on the evidence and on their own conscience.”

Members of the public have followed in Trudi’s footsteps. In May of this year, 24 people held similar signs outside Inner London Crown Court. The climate activists have all been referred by Judge Silas Reid to the Attorney General.

In July, another 24 people held up the same signs as Trudi Warner’s original outside Isleworth Crown Court.

Update: The wording of the sub-headline has been changed to remove any insinuation that Trudi’s placard urged jurors to acquit Insulate Britain protestors.