On the same date in March, the offices of The Daily Mail and The Sun also received a spray paint treatment.
A district judge found that the costs of cleaning up the Daily Telegraph’s offices were not “minor nor trivial”.
Matthew Hempstock and Benedict Mango were caught red-handed when they spray the substance in the newspaper’s HQ on 22 March.
Other activists tried to repair some of the damages caused by the liquid on the pavement and the window sills at his City of London Magistrates’ Court trial, which took place Monday.
Hearing was informed that the paint in Victoria in London had to be removed three times and cost over PS3,000. The building was not left in its original condition before the protest.
Jonathan Bryan, the prosecutor said that the two defendants used fire extinguishers and sprayed green paint onto the façade of the Daily Telegraph. The spray was mostly applied on glass doors and windows. Others sprayed into the masonry.
The police were called after it was observed what they were up to. When the police arrived, they found that Mr. Hempstock was outside with Mr. Mango holding fire extinguishers.
They had green paint all over their hands. They were red-handed.
The police arrested them and took them to the station.
Elizabeth Onaji who is the house manager said that emergency cleaning crews arrived that same day to wash the windows using a hose. Two weeks later, the arches could be cleaned more thoroughly but not the masonry. The arches were cleaned higher two weeks later, but the masonry could not be cleaned.
The court heard that “very faint” marks still remain on the structure.
The witness also said that it will cost at least PS2,000 in order to replace the anti-graffiti layer washed off during the protest.
The trial heard that most people had to exit the building through the back in the first few hours following the protest.
She said to the court, “I remember two other women, and it did not look as if they had painted. They were in the group. You filled up two-liter bottles with water from their carts. With water.
I saw the people pouring it onto the pavement in order to try and remove the paint.
They also asked us for a brush so that they can clean him up a bit more.
“The first woman…said that it would have been easier to use a brush, do you own one?” I didn’t say anything.
It’s not up to us to fix it.
The witness replied: “To tell the truth, I didn’t think it was very effective.”
The court heard from both defendants that they did not intend to cause damage to the brickwork.
Hempstock stated in his testimony that “he wanted to amplify” the “message” about the newspaper’s guilt for “spreading misinformation regarding the climate crisis.”
Mango said that they had “researched the site very carefully”, and made sure that their paint was washeable.
Later, he appeared to be emotional as he said that “climate changes affect us all”, and that the newspaper “published articles that undermine scientific knowledge”.
The District Judge Steven Jonas said that they “made significant efforts” in order to reduce the effects of their actions, but were “reckless” about whether or not the paint could cause greater harm than intended.
Both admitted to spraying paint, but each denied one count of criminal damage to property worth less than PS5,000. They claimed their actions were legal.
The judge said: “In my opinion, the cost to carry out this work was not minor or trivial.”
I have found you all guilty.
Both were given conditional discharges and also had to pay PS275 in compensation plus PS465 of costs, as well as a PS26 victim’s surcharge.
Reporting on the hearing, The Telegraph headlined its report: “Reckless XR activists Walk Free After Paint Attack on Telegraph Offices.”
On the same March day, protesters from Extinction Rebellion also spray painted the London offices owned by News UK (the Daily Mail and Sun) of News UK.
Climate protesters have attacked newspapers in the past. They blocked the Newsprinters print works in Broxbourne in Hertfordshire in September 2020. This resulted in a loss of PS1m as News UK and Mail, Telegraph, and Evening Standard were not able to be delivered.
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