Climate protesting teen charged

An 18-year-old climate protestor has appeared in court, facing charges relating to an incident when he climbed a 33 metres tall crane in Norwich to hang an Extinction Rebellion flag from the top.

Alex Sidney, from Dereham, Norfolk, climbed the crane in the early hours of Saturday 7th November last year. Norwich police were called to the scene at around 6.40am, quickly arresting three people in connection with the incident, although all three were released on bail.

After spending 48 hours atop the crane, Mr Sidney was helped descend by two firefighters shortly before 12pm on Monday 9th. He was taken away by police to Wymondham Investigation Centre to be questioned.

In court, Mr Sidney admitted to one charge of criminal damage, for using a disc cutter to cut through a chain that was secured with a padlock so he could reach the crane.

Three additional charges of aggravated trespassing, obstructing a constable in the execution of their duty, and displaying a sign with intention to cause harassment, alarm or distress, were all dismissed.

The hearing was held at the Norwich Magistrates’ Court, which ordered Mr Sidney to pay £45 in criminal damage costs for cutting the chain and £100 towards the cost of his prosecution. He was then handed an 18-month conditional discharge.

Before appearing in court, Mr Sidney had prepared a statement to read out explaining the motivation behind his actions. However, district judge Shanta Deonarine did not permit the statement to be read, saying that a courtroom was “not an area or a forum in which to make statements which don’t assist me today.”

She added, “You stay out of trouble and go back to being a person of good character. It gives you a chance to have this end at the end of the conditional discharge.”

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Jamie Hose

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October 2021
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