David Walbank KC Reviews the Latest Instalment in the HS2 Saga

June 23, 2023

In his most recent fortnightly ‘Crime Brief’ column for New Law Journal, David Walbank KC reviewed R (DPP) v Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court [2023] 4 WLR 22.

He began by noting that:

“The economic benefits of HS2 may sometimes seem illusory. Nebulous phrases like ‘connectivity’, ‘capacity’ and, dare I say it, ‘levelling up’ are bandied about whilst a hard-headed costs/benefits analysis is harder to come by and grows ever more elusive as project costs continue to spiral. Only history will judge whether this state-of-the-art high-speed rail link, supposedly bringing London and the North of England closer together, is ultimately seen as a marvel of modern engineering or the biggest white elephant ever to burn through our increasingly straightened public finances. However, one identifiable sub-class of our fellow citizens that it has undoubtedly benefited is the criminal lawyers. Rarely can any major construction project have given rise to such a rich seam of contentious litigation.”

David then goes on to review the Divisional Court’s judgment and to assess their conclusion that, on charges of aggravated trespass arising from an HS2 protest in which the protesters tunnelled under Euston Square Gardens, the District Judge had erred in his analysis of the proper scope of the ‘lawful activity’ that has to be obstructed or disrupted and had been wrong to rule that there was no case to answer.

For the full article, see here[NLJ 2023 Vol173  Issue8030-Jun-Procedure practice Criminal Walbank KC].

David Walbank KC specialises in the trial of white-collar crime. He is also the creator and frontman of www.crimecast.law on which he presents regular video reviews of recent cases.