The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said it is in the public interest to prosecute former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, after she was arrested at shale gas drilling site in Sussex in August.
Lucas was among the 30 people held by police for having blocked the main road in Balcombe, during a series of protests against fracking firm Cuadrilla, which was conducting exploratory tests in the area.
The Brighton Pavilion MP was released on bail and subsequently participated in the Green Party conference in Brighton earlier this month, where she sarcastically said there might have been police around the building.
She also said, “If the police believe that Greens pose a threat to the established order of things – where big business can ignore local democracy and trash our natural environment at will – then we must be doing something right.”
Speaking about her prosecution, senior CPS lawyer Nigel Pilkington said, “After careful consideration, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to prosecute Ms Lucas for breaching a police order on public assemblies and wilful obstruction of the highway”.
Lucas, who became the first Green MP in 2010, is due to appear at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on October 9. She commented, “Sussex police have today confirmed I am being charged with two offences arising out of my arrest in Balcombe on 19 August. One of the offences is for obstructing the highway. The other is for failing to comply with a police condition to move to a specified protest area.
“I firmly believe in the right to peaceful protest and remain deeply concerned about the impact of fracking on climate change and the wider environment.
“I have been advised by my lawyer to make no further comment at this stage”.