Stansted Airport case

|News

The prosecution of 15 defendants following an incident at Stansted Airport in 2017 has led to a number of misleading reports about the case.

To clarify:

  • The charge used in this case applies to those who intentionally disrupt service at an aerodrome regardless of their motivation. It is not a terrorist charge.
  • It has never been suggested these defendants are terrorists and they were not prosecuted under terrorism legislation.
  • The charge used in this case is from the Aviation and Maritime Security Act of 1990 and applies to those who intentionally disrupt service at an aerodrome regardless of their motivation.
  • The evidence showed that unauthorised people with unidentified equipment and unknown intentions had cut through the perimeter fence into the airside part of Stansted airport. 
  • The protestors were in possession of scaffolding poles and metal tubing which they used to lock themselves together forming a chain around the nose of an aircraft.
  • Their actions meant the runway was immediately closed down and all flights were suspended, meaning none could take off or land.
  • They caused a significant risk to the safety of those on the airside, themselves included, and to the safe operation of the aerodrome.   The potential consequences of a person impacting with an aircraft either taking off or landing, or a piece of debris being ingested into a jet engine were described as ‘catastrophic’, including the safety of entire aircrafts and all their passengers being at stake. The jury agreed that their actions were likely to endanger safety.
  • Prosecutors select charges which reflect the seriousness and extent of the offending and give the court adequate powers to sentence. The evidence supported that the actions were likely to endanger safety and therefore the selected charge was the most appropriate one.
  • Their case was put before a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court and they were unanimously convicted. The sentence was a matter for a court and the court was fully aware of the circumstances of this case.

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