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Jockey Club Issue Contempt Of Court Proceedings Against Animal Rising Co-Founder

Updated: Jun 3

Jockey Club Issue Contempt Of Court Proceedings Against Animal Rising Co-Founder

  • The Jockey Club has, yesterday, publicised a committal order made against Mr Ben Newman related to an alleged breach of a high court injunction as supporters of Animal Rising disrupted the Epsom Derby on 3/6/23 [1] [2].

  • The proceedings come despite the fact that Mr Newman already spent over a month in prison on remand earlier this summer whilst awaiting trial. On 7/7/23 he was convicted of ‘Causing a Public Nuisance’, sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment (suspended for two years.) He was also ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work and to pay total costs and surcharges of £1356 and released [3].

  • Animal Rising says that this is a deeply concerning move, essentially attempting to sentence an individual twice for a single alleged offence.

In, what Animal Rising claims is, a “startling use of draconian and repressive legislation” The Jockey Club have begun committal proceedings against an Animal Rising supporter who disrupted the Epsom Derby in June - despite him already being convicted in regard to the nonviolent action.

Dan Kidby, another co-founder of Animal Rising, said:

“Animal Rising’s nonviolent actions to protect horses at the Grand National and Epsom Derby were met with broad public support. Yet, instead of engaging with the concerns of the general public we instead are seeing the multi-billion pound Jockey Club clamp down on animal lovers with privately-bought laws.

Ben Newman has already spent over a month in prison and been sentenced for public nuisance and now the Jockey Club Corporation appear to be attempting to undermine the centuries-old legal principle of Double Jeopardy by pursuing a new charge. This is a blatant attempt to make an example out of a kind, loving person whose life’s work is trying to build a better world. This corporate repression is part of a wider push to erode our, already unstable, democracy.

So much is wrong in our society and ordinary people will not stop calling for the transformation in whatever way they nonviolently can, we will not be intimidated and our voices will not be silenced.”

An initial hearing will take place this Thursday (17/8/23) to arrange a date for the full hearing to be seen by a Civil Court.

In recent years, injunctions have been sought and granted on multiple occasions, including against travellers and environmental movements. An individual held in breach of an injunction does not receive a trial presided over by a jury or magistrate. Instead, in what Animal Rising calls “a stain on any idea of democracy and fairness”, Contempt of Court proceedings are held.

The maximum penalty for Contempt of Court is 2 years in prison, asset seizure and unlimited fines, this offence is heard in front of a judge meaning there is no trial by jury [4].


Word count: 474

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