Oxford’s Didcot protestor fined

News

An Oxford student has been convicted of aggravated trespass after scaling a power station in an environmental protest.

Carl Van Tonder, a chemistry student from St Anne’s, was handed an 18-month conditional discharge in court in Thursday and forced to pay £500 costs as punishment.

The protesters occupied parts of the Didcot Power Station for two days last September.

Van Tonder explained that since he is currently on a sabbatical year, he was the only one with enough time to fight the case.

Van Tonder claimed in his defence that 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide were emitted by the Didcot station every week which was indirectly causing the deaths of dozens per year by contributing to climate change.

Brian Payne, the prosecuting attorney, argued that this was irrelevant because Van Tonder could not point to anyone who was harmed.

But Van Tonder claimed that his sentence was relatively light, showing his arguments had borne some weight.

“I was fined £500, and the action cost the police and [the power company] an order of magnitude higher than that,” Van Tonder said.