Judge Robert Altham, who jailed three fracking protesters (Simon Blevins, Richard Roberts, and Richard Loizou) over their demonstration at a Cuadrilla site, may soon see his sentences overturned after it emerged that the Altham family business supplies the Irish Sea oil and gas industry. You see, J.C. Altham and Sons is “part of the supply chain for energy giant Centrica, which has invested tens of millions of pounds in fracking.”1
“The “Fracking Three” are believed to be the first environmental activists jailed for public nuisance since 1932 in what critics have claimed was a “manifestly excessive” punishment.”2
Lawyers for the protesters are currently trying to have their sentences overturned.
So what did the protesters do to land them such a harsh sentence? They climbed onto the roofs of lorries (trucks) taking drilling equipment to a Cuadrilla fracking site in Little Plumpton, Lancashire, (England) in July 2017, refusing to come down for between 45 and 84 hours, causing disruption and costing the firm £50,000.
And for that, two were given 16-month jail terms while a third was given 15 months.
However, now that we know that Judge Altham’s parents John and Linda, are directors of J.C. Altham & Sons and that his sister Jane is the managing director of the firm, it seems likely that the men’s sentences will, in fact, be overturned. And potentially, within weeks.
The UK’s judicial code of conduct states that a judge’s impartiality might be questioned: “…if family members are ‘politically active’ or have ‘financial interest’ in the outcome of a case.”3 But it feels like more should happen that just his impartiality being questioned. Honestly, this guy should be sanctioned. Or punished. Simply reversing his sentences isn’t enough.
We will update you as soon as we have additional information.