Extinction Rebellion: Olympian Etienne Stott guilty over protest

Etienne Stott and Chris Packham on top of bus stop Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Etienne Stott was photographed on top of the bus stop alongside naturalist Chris Packham

An Olympic gold medal-winning canoeist has been found guilty of a public order offence after taking part in Extinction Rebellion protests.

Etienne Stott was arrested on Waterloo Bridge in London in April last year when he and other protesters refused to comply with police orders to leave.

The 40-year-old had denied one count of breaching the Public Order Act.

At City of London Magistrates' Court, he was handed a conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £300.

Police had imposed a condition under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 ordering protesters to move to another site at Marble Arch, as climate change demonstrations took place in the capital last April.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The 40-year-old had denied one count of breaching the Public Order Act

Stott, of Nottingham, accepted he had been on Waterloo Bridge as part of the Extinction Rebellion protests and was aware of the police order but denied he knowingly failed to comply with it.

He told the court he had acted out of a "sense of fear" and a "sense of duty".

"As a good person, with a voice and a platform, I feel it was my duty to act in the way that I did," he said.

Finding him guilty, Judge Michael Snow said Stott was an "impressive" individual who was "clearly terrified for the future".

The judge also said the Met "went out of their way" to avoid arresting protesters and he was satisfied the police condition was proportionate and lawful.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stott won gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Stott, who retired from canoeing in 2016, won the slalom event with Tim Baillie at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

He was awarded an MBE for services to canoeing in 2013.

Speaking following the trial, Stott said he recognised "that our protests caused inconvenience... but the point is we're using that as a tool to make our point un-ignorable".

"The disruption is nothing compared to what will happen when climate and ecological emergency really bites on us here in this country."

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