Ruth Jarman of Christian Climate Action was arrested and remanded along with 50 other activists for breaking a civil injunction by blocking access to Kingsbury Oil Terminal with the group Just Stop Oil on September 15. The hearing was in Birmingham Crown Court where she was remanded for 5 days after refusing to accept the authority of the court and received a suspended sentence and costs. Freedom spoke with her to discuss the proceedings and why she holds the court culpable:
Look at the world. The whole system in which we live is failing people and planet, but the law particularly – we were trying to shine a light on the fact that the court system is protecting the oil industry which is destroying life on earth. What’s the point of the law if it doesn’t protect life? It’s failing in its primary duty. I was also happy to go on remand because it’s just another way of telling the truth about the seriousness of [climate change]; that we’re prepared to go to prison for it.
How did you reveal your contempt to the judge?
We used different ways to just say that we don’t accept the authority of the court. So I just said
‘I will not do what the court asks and I will go and break the injunction again’, so the judge had to put me on remand. Other people took their t-shirts off to show words written there such as Just Stop Oil or ‘sham justice kills kids’.
Other people just stood on chairs, or refused to stand. I think we all refused to stand, but [the judge] didn’t care about that. In that situation you’re meant to simply say your name and say whether you accept it or not but we all said more than that.
Why was it important for you to carry on the protest within the courtroom?
It’s because we know the government’s failing us, we know business is failing us, the courts have a choice whether to carry on in a blinkered way, ignoring the big picture that the world’s going to hell in a handcart and just do their job, or whether they’re going to stand up to the government and businesses and say this isn’t right, there’s a higher law here. We were trying to encourage the courts to think beyond their blinkered remit and be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
This action was against the oil industry, but it was also against the injunction that was meant to streamline the flow of oil, and against the courts that have yet again revealed their purpose within a system that is built to concentrate wealth and maintain the existing structure.
Image: Just Stop Oil