Judge defers decision on INEOS fracking injunction

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BY RUTH HAYHURST ON NOVEMBER 2, 2017

A High Court judge hearing the challenge to INEOS’s injunction against anti-fracking protests has reserved his judgement.
Mr Justice Morgan said this evening:
“I’m not going to give a decision. I think the amount of material I have to digest and weigh up and consider means it is not fair to give a decision tonight. I will try to give a decision as soon as possible.”
He gave no indication of timing but said the injunction would remain in place until the decision.
The three-day hearing has heard argument from INEOS and lawyers for two challengers, campaigners Joe Boyd and Joe Corre, son of fashion designer, Vivienne Westwood.
The evidence and statements filled 32 ring binders and the legal teams topped 25.
After the hearing, Mr Boyd said:
“We have put up a great fight with great arguments. INEOS have avoided the main points that we have made. Hopefully the judge will give us a favourable decision.”
INEOS sought an injunction against activities that would interfere with its operations and those of its staff, contractors and suppliers.
The order covered trespass, harassment and obstructing the highway. There were no named defendants and it applied world-wide.
Breaching the injunction could make someone in contempt of court and at risk of prison or seizure of their assets.
The company argued that the order went no further than the criminal law in preventing any actions.
But the challengers called for the injunction order to be quashed.
They argued that it breached human rights of people and was so loosely written as to be unworkable.
They alleged that INEOS had exaggerated the threat it faced from anti-fracking protesters. And they said the company had not brought the injunction under proper procedures.
Stephanie Harrison QC, for Mr Corre, said earlier today:
“The claimants did not make properly clear to the court that they face no current or imminent threat.
“Their proposed operations are many months, if not years, into the future”
“The claimants told the court that they were at risk of “militant protester activity” and that there had been recent escalation of unlawful activity such that the injunction was urgent.”
She said the alleged escalation of activity referred to places that were not owned or operated by INEOS.
“They faced no immediate threats as there were no immediate plans.”
The court heard about the consequences of the injunction on people living around INEOS proposed sites and the potential risk facing the police in trying to impose the injunction.

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