When major parts of the country’s busiest motorway are forced to close by deliberate sabotage for four days running, that is a news story of national importance, says Janet Daley in the Telegraph. Why then have the police arrested a journalist for covering the story – and defended their actions by saying journalists should stop reporting on it? Hertfordshire police’s defence of their chilling actions carry dangerous implications, says Janet.
While attending one of the sites of this lunatic delinquency on a busy section of the M25 last week, they formally arrested not only the Just Stop Oil brats but a broadcast journalist who was covering the incident.
Charlotte Lynch, a reporter from LBC radio was a considerable distance from the protesters desporting themselves on the gantry, and was in possession of an accredited press card which a five minute telephone call would have verified.
Nonetheless, she was apprehended by officers on “suspicion of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance” and imprisoned for five hours. That is to say, she was potentially to be charged with precisely the same offence as the protesters would be.
Nobody so far as I can see has actually suggested that the arresting officers believed her to be part of the demonstration or even supportive of it. This is where the explanation of the arrest by David Lloyd, Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, becomes really alarming. He did not defend it on the basis that his force made a mistake: that they believed wrongly that Ms Lynch belonged to the Just Stop Oil troops.