- IGas are currently conducting exploratory drilling in the outskirts of Manchester (Barton Moss). If gas is found it may lead to fracking, protesters worry that this will have a devastating impact on huge swathes of south Manchester (and the Mersey Valley)
- Local residents who oppose the drilling have set up a legitimate, peaceful and friendly camp near to the proposed drill site.
- A number of the protesters were arrested for obstructing an IGas lorry, the police released the arrestees on restrictive and confusing bail conditions.
- Richard Brigden successfully argued that the bail conditions restricting access to the camp infringed the protesters human rights (Art 10 & 11 ECHR), the court agreed and the protesters bail was varied so as to be unconditional.
Richard Brigden is currently representing a number of people who were arrested whilst protesting against the current drilling, by IGas, at Barton Moss in Manchester.
IGas is conducting exploratory drilling that will help them to understand what potential resources are held beneath the surface (gas, oil and coal based methane). Barton Moss locals are worried about the impact of this exploratory drilling, they are concerned that if gas is found it will have a long-term negative impact on the local community. Locals have set up a camp (Barton Community Protection Camp) near to the drill site which they hope will remain there for the entire period of the exploratory drilling.
On 27 th November 2013 police arrested 3 people. All three arrestees were taken to a police station before being released on bail conditions that did not permit them to return to the camp.
On 5th December the 3 defendants were in court at Manchester City Magistrates court for a first appearance. All three pleaded not guilty and all three had their bail varied to unconditional bail meaning that they can return to the camp. Richard argued that there were no substantial grounds to believe that any of the defendants would be likely to commit further offences. Richard also argued that the court had to consider the defendants rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly pursuant to articles 10 and 11 of the ECHR. The prosecution objected to these submissions on the basis that the three defendants should not be allowed to return to the camp as ‘heroes’.
The strength of feeling within the local community was evidenced by the fact that the courtroom was filed with Barton Moss locals who came to support the three defendants.
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