Extinction Rebellion campaigner jailed for filming her own court appearance

She entered the dock with a pre-prepared plan to break the rules on filming inside a courtroom, becoming the fourth XR campaigner to face contempt action in the past year.

On a video showing the courtroom, members of staff, and a police officer, she says: “I’m actually recording and live-streaming this because I have no respect for this court.

“You have no respect for the environment, you have no respect for international law, and I am showing disrespect to the court.

“And I have no intention of cooperating with you.”

When a voice off camera points out she is committing an offence, Schafer replies: “I do know it’s an offence, yes.”

Schafer was at the central London court to face a charge of wilfully obstructing the highway, near to Parliament in September last year.

Explaining her deliberate decision to live-stream from court, she says: “I believe it is time to act, it’s time for us all to stand up and be counted.

“The courts in this country have allowed on appeal the third runway to go ahead at Heathrow. That’s such a massive crime compared to sitting in the road outside of Parliament, which is what I do.

“In a desperate attempt to try and get the government and the other powers that be in this country to take note of the climate emergency….now I’m left with no choice but to try and use illegal means and use non-violent direct action to try and get this government to stand up and take note.”

Schafer, a surf instructor from New Quay in west Wales, is heard on the video refusing to leave the courtroom, saying she has “no intent of cooperating”.

The incident was part of an XR direct action campaign – dubbed Disobey in the Dock – that has seen three other activists facing contempt proceedings.

City of London magistrates court has been processing hundreds of criminal cases against XR demonstrators since 2019, continuing with hearings and trials even while court space has been limited by the pandemic.

In a statement prepared before she went to court yesterday, Schafer anticipated she may be locked up and said she believes they must “throw ourselves on the wheels of the machine as many times as we are able” to force environmental change.

XR said Melanie Edwards, a carer from South Wales, was sentenced to seven days in prison last January for gluing herself to the dock during her own trial, while another woman was handed a 14-day jail term for her disobedience in the dock.

The group said Árainn Hawke, 49, from Somerset, was also jailed for seven days on February 4 this year, for gluing himself to the dock and livestreaming proceedings with his mobile phone.

XR said Schafer has been taken to HMP Bronzefield to serve the prison term.

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