National Highways Ltd v Heyatawin and Others: QBD 17 Nov 2021

The court considered allegations of contempt of court by protesters disobeying court injunctions.
Held: The allegations were variously proved, and indeed were largely uncontested. Sentences of imprisonment were imposed ranging up to 6 months: ‘By deliberately defying the M25 Order, these defendants broke the social contract under which in a democratic society the public can properly be expected to tolerate peaceful protest. This was bound to give rise to frustration and anger, which carried with it the prospect that the defendants’ own safety and the safety of others would be put at risk; and that members of the community might take the law into their own hands in trying to deal with the disruption the protest had caused. We consider this a proper inference to draw from all the evidence we have seen, including the proximity of the protestors to heavy traffic at a busy time of day before the police arrived and the attempts of some of the defendants to go back into the road when traffic started flowing again.’

Dame Victoria Sharp P
[2021] EWHC 3078 (QB)
Bailii, Judiciary
England and Wales
CitedSecretary of State for Transport and Another v Cuciurean ChD 16-Oct-2020
Sentencing after finding of contempt.
Held: It is not only the applicant but the court – and, we would add, the public – which has an interest in deterring disobedience to its orders and in upholding the rule of law. . .
CitedCuciurean v The Secretary of State for Transport and Another CA 16-Mar-2021
Appeal against findings of contempt of court by breach of an injunction prohibiting trespass on land, and against the sanctions imposed. The breaches were committed as part of a protest against the construction of the HS2 railway line.
Held: . .
CitedRegina v Jones (Margaret), Regina v Milling and others HL 29-Mar-2006
Domestic Offence requires Domestic Defence
Each defendant sought to raise by way of defence of their otherwise criminal actions, the fact that they were attempting to prevent the commission by the government of the crime of waging an aggressive war in Iraq, and that their acts were . .
CitedLonghurst Homes Ltd v Killen CA 11-Mar-2008
Appeal against sentence of nine months for contempt of court. Hughes LJ considered the ‘protective’ effect of continuing to keep the contemnor in prison and thus into whether an order for early discharge would be likely to lead to further breaches . .
CitedJSC BTA Bank v Solodchenko and Others CA 28-Oct-2011
The defendant appealed against a sentenced for contempt of court. He said that the sentence should have been at worst an order for costs. He had been chairman of the claimant bank, and stood accused of fraud.
Held: In some cases the sanction . .
CitedRoberts and Others v Regina CACD 6-Dec-2018
Sentencing of Political Protesters
The defendants appealed against sentences for causing a public nuisance. They had been protesting against fracking by climbing aboard a lorry and blocking a main road for several days.
Held: The appeals from immediate custodial sentences were . .
CitedHer Majestys Attorney General v Crosland SC 10-May-2021
Application by Her Majesty’s Attorney General for permission to pursue an application for committal for contempt concerns an alleged breach of an embargo on publication of a judgment of the Supreme Court.
Held: ‘there is no principle which . .

Cited by:
Main judgmentNational Highways Ltd v Heyatawin and Others (Costs) QBD 18-Nov-2021
. .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court

Updated: 22 November 2021; Ref: scu.669942