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Ratcliffe trial

The police have been heavily cricitised for the use of pre-emptive arrests and an undercover police officer in the Ratcliffe trial

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Climate activist trial collapses over use of undercover police officer

Tom Antebi

10th January, 2011

The second trial of activists accused of planning to occupy Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station has collapsed after the use of undercover police officer Mark Kennedy was revealed

The trial of the final six activists accused of planning to try and shut down the UK's second largest power station, Ratcliffe-on-Soar, has collapsed on its first day after it was found that evidence for the prosecution case was gleaned from the use of an undercover police officer.

Metropolitan police officer Mark ‘Stone’ Kennedy was uncovered by activists last October after his real passport and other documents concerning his identity were found. He is believed to have helped to organise and provide money and equipment for the planned occupation for which 20 other activists were found guilty of last week.

The defence barristers argued that the defendants could not have a fair trial if the details of the officer’s involvement could not be revealed by the Crown Prosecution Service. In a statement from Bindman’s solicitors, who were representing the defendants, Mike Schwartz said: 'I have no doubt that our attempts to get disclosure about Kennedy’s role has led to the collapse of the trial'.

It has been revealed that in instead of just feeding the police information about activist activity, and the planned occupation of the power-station, he took an active role in its organisation. The court heard evidence that he had hired and paid for a 7.5 tonne truck to transport the vast array of safety equipment to the power-plant. He had also been designated a role as one of the three key climbers.

The six defendants were part of the group of 114 who were pre-emptively arrested in a school in Nottingham in 2009, thought to be the largest pre-emptive arrest in UK history. Twenty of these were found guilty of 'conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass' last month and given fines and community service orders.

In a statement, one of the defendants of the collapsed trial, Oliver Knowles said, 'I was arrested despite having made no decision to take part in the conspiracy, having only learnt of the planned action an hour or two before the police raid. The police knew this full well as one of their number was present in the room. Despite this they went ahead with my arrest and subsequent prosecution.'

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