A judge told an 83-year-old Universe columnist and climate change activist “your knees are obviously better than mine” as he appeared in court for clambering on to the roof of a rush-hour train.
Phil Kingston – a regular contributor to the Universe’s popular NJPN column – will be subject to a curfew and banned from London until he appears at Crown Court later this month, but described his “delight” at being bailed rather than remanded in custody.
The retired probation officer was at Highbury Corner magistrates’ court last week where he denied a charge of obstructing trains or carriages on the railway by an unlawful act. He was charged alongside five fellow Extinction Rebellion activists, who also pleaded not guilty and were bailed.
They were part of a group called Christian Climate Action who climbed on top of a Docklands Light Railway train at Canary Wharf station on 25th April carrying a banner that stated ‘Business as usual = death’, singing and holding a prayer vigil as police arrived.
Alex Britton, for the prosecution, told the court that “numerous trains were affected and delayed” and said the disruption had cost about £80,000.
Judge Susan Williams said: “Quite frankly how you got up to the roof of that train, Mr Kingston, I don’t know, but your knees are obviously better than mine.”
She said that Mr Kingston, from Patchway near Bristol, would be allowed to come to London the day before his court appearance, joking: “There’s a quick service from Bristol – if no-one’s glued to the train.”
Mr Kingston will appear at Blackfriars Crown Court on 23rd May.
Picture: Phil Kingston is led into magistrates’ court by police.