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Just Stop Oil Twickenham protester was ‘doing his duty as a doctor’

Jun 26, 2024 IDOPRESS
Dr Patrick Hart, cleared of criminal damage after throwing orange powder on the pitch, says he was ‘protecting the health of my patients’

Dr Patrick Hart,a GP from Bristol,was cleared of causing criminal damage to the Twickenham pitch along with co-protester Samuel Johnson,a construction worker from Essex

Credit: David Davies/PA Archive

A Just Stop Oil protester who threw orange powder on the pitch at Twickenham during a rugby final has said he was “doing his duty as a doctor”.

Dr Patrick Hart,38 and Samuel Johnson,41,were both cleared of criminal damage at Kingston Crown Court on Tuesday.

JSO claimed prosecutors struggled to prove they had intended to cause criminal damage because they would not have realised how difficult it would be to clean the substance from the specialist pitch.

The two protesters threw orange cornstarch powder paint after invading the pitch during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby final in May 2023.

Similar powder paint was used during the Ashes at Lords and was easily cleaned up with a leaf blower,but the hybrid pitch at Twickenham is a combination of natural and plastic grass and much more difficult to clean,the campaign group said.

Dr Hart,said: “I told the jury that I am taking the most effective action I can,on the best available evidence,to protect the health of my patients. To put it simply: I am doing my duty as a doctor.”

Dr Hart (left) and Mr Johnson still face a charge of aggravated trespass

Credit: Jordan Pettitt/PA Archive

Mr Johnson,a construction worker from Essex,said: “A year ago,Patrick and I ran onto Twickenham during the Premiership final,throwing orange powder in the air.

“Today,we have been found not guilty of criminal damage. I took part in this action because our politicians continue to issue licences,knowing full well it will result in the deaths of millions of people.

“Thousands have died due to extreme heat brought on by climate change while we were on trial. This is happening now.”

The pair also each face a charge of aggravated trespass which has been sent back to Wimbledon magistrates’ court to be dealt with at a later date,a member of court staff said.

The Crown Prosecution Service has been approached for comment.