Divisional Court quashes conviction of five protesters in Carter-Brown & Ors v Crown Prosecution Service


Carter-Brown & Ors v Crown Prosecution Service [2017] EWHC 1955 (QB)

The Divisional Court (Lord Justice Burnett and Sir Wyn Willams) today quashed the convictions of five protesters, on appeal by way of case stated. The appellants had protested outside the Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield against the UK Government’s nuclear weapons policy and were charged with obstructing the highway. The appeal raised the “all important” question of whether the prosecution had proved the location of the boundary between public and private land (at [23]).

The Court recalled the test for establishing that a way is a highway (at [27] per Sir Wyn Williams and [34] per Burnett LJ) and held that “the prosecution failed to establish by evidence before the District Judge […] where the boundary lay” (at [37] per Burnett LJ). As a result, the District Judge was not entitled to conclude that the part of the road on which the appellants were located was a highway.

The judgment is available here.

Joanna Buckley represented 4 of the 5 appellants at trial and on appeal.