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Manuel Cortes hails “fantastic” legal victory for jailed fracking protesters

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has welcomed the decision of the Appeal Court to quash jail sentences against three men jailed for their part in an anti-fracking protest.

At an appeal hearing this morning in London the judges said the sentences had been “manifestly excessive”.

Simon Roscoe Blevins and Richard Roberts had been jailed for 16 months and Rich Loizou for 15 months but were today given unconditional discharges by the judges.

They appeared by video link from Preston Prison having been convicted three weeks ago of causing a public nuisance outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool in 2017.

They are thought to be the first campaigners in the UK to be sent to prison for anti-fracking protests.

Manuel Cortes said: “I am absolutely delighted that these brave protesters are now free. Our union has been proud to stand with the protesters and has offered fantastic support and solidarity throughout their ordeal.

“Fracking is a threat to our communities, workers and water supplies. Non-violent protest against fracking is not just a right, but a necessity.

“I’m pleased to say that is a position the Court of Appeal has fully backed in today’s judgement”.

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