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Formula 1 drivers ‘were at serious risk of harm’ during eco protest, court hears


Formula One Grand Prix Of Great Britain 2022

The Formula 1 Grand Prix was disrupted last summer (Picture: Gongora/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Just Stop Oil protestors put Formula 1 drivers and race marshals ‘at serious risk of harm’, a court has heard.

Activists had took to the racetrack during last July’s Silverstone Grand Prix.

David Baldwin, 47; Emily Brocklebank, 24; Alasdair Gibson, 22; Louis McKechnie, 22; Bethany Mogie, 40; and 29-year-old Joshua Smith all deny causing a public nuisance at the Northamptonshire circuit.

Opening the case at Northampton Crown Court on Wednesday, prosecutor Simon Jones said: ‘Each of these defendants were present at Silverstone and they were intent on causing a disruption to the race.

‘It is not in dispute that five of the defendants in this case – all of them save for David Baldwin – made it on to the racetrack and they did not have permission to be there.’

He added: ‘They sat down in front of the ongoing cars – Formula 1 motor racing cars.

‘They will inevitably say that this was done as an act of protest and in order to bring publicity to the cause and demand they make of no new oil and gas licences.’

Mr Jones played video footage to the jury of seven women and five men at Northampton Crown Court, showing F1 stars Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon driving past five protesters who were sitting on or being dragged off the track.

Bethany Mogie, Alasdair Gibson, Emily Brocklebank and David Baldwin arrive at court (Picture: PA)

The prosecutor added: ‘The prosecution say that there was clearly an immediate risk of serious harm being caused. Plainly, they could have been struck by fast-moving vehicles with obvious severe consequences.

Among the video exhibits shown the jury on the first day of the trial was footage of a three-car collision at the first turn of the race, in which no drivers were seriously hurt.

F1’s chief legal officer, Sacha Woodward Hill, was the second witness at the hearing.

Commenting on video footage of numerous cars passing along the Wellington Straight, she said part of the front of Tsunoda’s car was missing as it passed the protesters, with loose bodywork ‘sparking’ along the ground.

Just Stop Oil supporters outside Northampton Crown Court (Picture: PA)

Asked by a defence barrister to comment on the frequency of ‘pitch invaders’ at F1 races, she told the court: ‘Very seldom and when it does (happen) it’s a very serious matter.’

The trial continues.

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Source:: Metro

      

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