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Reverend Sue Parfitt Found Guilty

Reverend Sue Parfitt has been found guilty of obstruction of the highway in a trial lasting almost eight hours. 

The reverend, a veteren activist who is no stranger to the dock, was arrested for the offence last December during a joint action between XR Bristol, XR Peace, and Christian Climate Action to blockade the Ministry of Defence (MoD) site in Abbeywood, Filton.

Speaking from outside Bristol Magistrates’ Court after the trial today (June 30), Rev. Sue, 79, voiced her frustration, saying ‘it’s such a bad result.’

There had been hopes among supporters outside the courthouse of an acquittal, following last Friday’s supreme court decision to dismiss charges of obstruction of the highway against activists who blocked access to an arms fair in London. 

In that case, the supreme court ruled that because the obstruction was ‘limited, targeted, and peaceful’ it was unreasonable to press charges. 

In her defence, Rev. Sue had argued that her blockade at the MoD was similarly limited and did in fact allow some traffic to pass. 

Referencing the supreme court decision, Rev. Sue said ‘How in justice’s name, compared with the four that locked on across the main road in London?’

Following the verdict today, Rev. Sue has been ordered to pay a fine. 

A crowd of around a dozen supporters, largely from Christian Climate Action, had gathered outside the Magistrate’s Court from 9:30 and remained throughout the day bearing flags and banners. 

Today’s trial had originally been set for April 16 but was postponed after the court decided that more time was needed to prepare. 

At the time of her first trial, Rev. Sue said of her actions ‘I am a law-abiding citizen’ but ‘civil disobedience is required to flag up the enormity of the [climate and ecological] emergency.’

Rev. Sue Parfitt prays before entering Bristol Magistrate’s Court. Image: James Ward.
Reverend Sue (centre) with supporters outside Bristol Magistrate’s Court after the trial. Image: James Ward.
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