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Extinction Rebellion co-founder fined for smashing Barclays window

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A co-founder of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) group has been fined for smashing the window of a bank.

Dr Gail Bradbrook, 50, used a mallet and chisel to smash through a pane of glass at Barclays Bank in Stroud, Gloucestershire, on 20 March 2022.

Bradbrook, from Stroud, admitted her actions but denied a charge of criminal damage.

At Taunton Magistrates’ Court, she was ordered to pay a £575 fine, plus £678 in court costs and victim surcharge.

Civil disobedience

During a half-day trial, Bradbrook compared her actions to those of the chartists, suffragettes and abolitionists.

She claimed she would have the consent of people working within the bank if they understood the realities of climate change.

Bradbrook said she had carried out the stunt early in the morning to minimise the risk of anyone being hurt and had brought a dustpan and brush to sweep up the broken glass.

She said civil disobedience was “how you make change happen”.

“The purpose of civil disobedience is to hold the system to account,” she continued.

Bradbrook told the court she believed there was a “revolving door” between big banks, major oil companies and the government.

The 50-year-old, who has a PhD in molecular biophysics, said that in the wake of XR’s direct action, civil servants and bank executives had praised its work.

Not ‘peaceful protest”

Finding her guilty, District Judge Angela Brereton acknowledged climate change was a subject “close to the defendant’s heart”.

But the judge found Bradbrook had produced no evidence or witnesses to support her claim that she had implied consent from people working within the bank to damage its windows.

She further found that Bradbrook had broken the window early in the morning to prevent anyone from stopping her, rather than to avoid anyone being harmed.

Judge Brereton said the damage “fell outside the bounds of peaceful protest”.