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Islington Protesters Sentencing Postponed Due To Lack Of Barrister

The sentencing of two Just Stop Oil protesters who scaled a bridge on the Dartford Crossing, causing gridlock when police closed it to traffic, has been postponed as a barrister was not available.

Morgan Trowland, 40, and 34-year-old Marcus Decker used ropes and other climbing equipment to scale the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, which links the M25 in Essex and Kent, in October last year.

The pair were due to be sentenced at Basildon Crown Court on Thursday, having been found guilty at an earlier trial of causing a public nuisance, but a barrister was not available to represent Trowland.

Trowland, who represented himself during the trial, told the court he had requested a barrister after the trial.

He said he was told the day before the sentencing hearing that a barrister was not available.

Judge Shane Collery KC said he was “uncomfortable proceeding with sentencing”, adding: “I don’t think we can just roll on ignoring it.”

Efforts were made on Thursday afternoon to find a barrister in the court building to represent Trowland, but nobody was available.

Trowland, of Islington, north London, and Decker, of no fixed address, have been in custody since they were remanded at their first appearance at magistrates’ court almost six months ago, on October 20 in Southend.

The judge told the defendants: “I’m really sorry Mr Decker and Mr Trowland.

“You can see the difficulties.

“We will put this on as soon as we can.”

He set a new provisional sentencing date of April 21 at Basildon Crown Court, with the defendants remanded in custody until then.