Home > News > Divisional Court Discharges Committal Orders of ‘Insulate Britain’ Protestor

On Tuesday 21 December 2021, the Divisional Court heard an application by Dr. Benjamin Buse to discharge his committal order and allow his early release from custody. This follows two successful committal applications by National Highways Limited flowing from two separate breaches of an injunction granted by Lavender J on Tuesday 21 September 2021. The injunction was made in proceedings related to National Highways’ claim for possession, trespass and nuisance, and injunctive relief restraining entry onto the M25 motorway.

On 17 November 2021, Dr. Buse was committed to prison for a period of 4 months for the first breach related to his involvement in the ‘Insulate Britain’ road-block protest on 8 October 2021: National Highways Ltd v Heyatawin and Others [2021] EWHC 3078 (QB). At a further committal hearing on 14 – 15 December 2021, Dr Buse was committed to prison for an additional period of 30 days (consecutive) for second breach related to his involvement in the road-block protest on 27 October 2021: National Highways Ltd v Buse and Others [2021] EWHC 3404 (QB). He has now served just over one month in custody.

The Court considered the principles to be applied on an application to discharge as summarised at 81.10.2 of the White Book and in CJ v Flintshire BC [2010] EWCA Civ 393 at [21]. This approach was approved in Swindon BC v Webb [2016] EWCA Civ 152 at [32] – [36].

Having considered:

  • the time already served by Dr. Buse;
  • the severe impact of prison on him and in particular how onerous current conditions were due to COVID;
  • the illness of Dr Buse’s mother; and
  • Dr Buse’s contrition and undertaking to comply with orders in the future;

the Court discharged his committal orders and directed he be immediately released from custody.

Joel Semakula appeared for National Highways Limited.

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