Eco-activist who yelled at Sir David Attenborough in a seafood restaurant who was acquitted of breaking the law
An eco-activist who confronted Sir David Attenborough about not doing enough to combat climate change while dining at a Michelin-starred seafood restaurant has today been acquitted of breaking the law.
Emma Smart, 45, yelled at the broadcaster “at the top of her lungs” after finding out he was enjoying a meal at Catch at the Old Fish Market in Weymouth, Dorset.
Smart was angered at the TV star after he accused him of lying to her in a letter he sent her while she was in jail for taking part in an M25 Insulate Britain protest.
She said he told her he had retired from public speaking after COP26 in 2021, but then she found out he was filming new BBC series Wild Isles.
In police bodycam footage of the incident shown to judges, Smart appeared to criticize the 96-year-old for not doing more to support her and other activists.
Emma Smart arrives at Poole Magistrates’ Court in Dorset this morning to begin her trial
Sir David Attenborough was dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant at the time of the incident
Smart, a marine biologist, yelled at him, “The town I love, Weymouth, is going to be underwater, and you’re going to sit there in that restaurant and have dinner.”
The court heard Smart, an activist with campaign groups Animal Rebellion and Insulate Britain, entered the upscale seafood restaurant on November 17 last year.
Staff prevented her from climbing the stairs to the second floor, where Sir David was sitting, before calling the police.
Smart was carried off the premises and arrested for failing to comply with an order to leave the area under Section 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
Concerned about the effect the shouting would have on the elderly naturalist, police, who had been called to the restaurant, asked Smart to leave.
Smart, from Weymouth, denied the charges and was found not guilty after a trial at Poole Magistrates’ Court today.
A district judge found that the arresting police officers did not give her sufficient time to leave the area after being asked to do so.
She was supported in court by a group of other activists, one of whom once cried out, “Fish have no voice”.
Smart, an activist with Animal Rebellion and Insulate Britain, told the court she went to the restaurant out of “extreme climate sadness” she was feeling.
She said: “Sir David’s email address is public information, he sent me two pages in reply to a letter I sent in prison.
“He said he understood me but retired from public speaking after COP26.
“When I saw him speak publicly on camera, I felt that what he had said in that letter was not true.”
In footage of the incident, Smart yelled at the naturalist, asking him to support activists like her.
The video showed her screaming, “David Attenborough! I’m Emma Smart, I’m a biologist. i am a scientist There are currently 35 climate activists in prison.
“David, please stand up for us and support us. David, I’ve looked up to you and listened to you all my life.
“The town I love, Weymouth, is going to be underwater and you’re sitting there in this restaurant having dinner.
“I’ve lived my whole life just like you, David. You said you understand me. Do you risk everything? You can stop this. Don’t let them arrest scientists.”
Emma Smart smiles as she arrives in the rain at Poole Magistrates’ Court in Dorset this morning
Smart wore a jacket that read ‘actions not words’ as she appeared in court today
Smart turns and smiles as she enters Poole Magistrates’ Court in Dorset this morning
Smart, from Weymouth, insisted she was a peaceful protester and never intended to harm Sir David.
She said: “I’m always a peaceful protester, I’ve never been a threat to him.
“Had David come down and said he didn’t want to speak to me, I would have left immediately.”
Police officers repeatedly asked Smart to leave before arresting her for causing a disturbance.
Victoria Hill, Prosecutor, said: “The defendant asked to speak to David Attenborough, who was in the restaurant that evening.
“Police officers told her she would not be able to speak to him and asked her to leave the premises.
“When she didn’t she was removed from the premises and when she was outside and while she was being escorted outside inside she yelled at him.
“As a result she was arrested, when questioned by police she made no comment.”
PC Callum Hall recounted how Smart fell to the ground like a “dead weight” and had to be carried by the arms and legs.
He said: “We got there around 8pm and spoke to Emma’s partner outside the restaurant.
“He told us they had technically kidnapped his wife by locking her in the restaurant.
“We entered the building and there was a member of staff blocking Emma’s way to get to the second floor where David Attenborough was.
Smart reportedly refused to leave the Weymouth restaurant last November
The incident happened at the Catch at the Old Fish Market restaurant on November 17 last year
Sir David Attenborough was filming in Weymouth at the time for a fishing documentary
The incident happened at the Catch restaurant at the Old Fish Market in Weymouth (file image)
“The staff member looked stressed because they had a high profile guest and wanted everything to go smoothly.
“Emma continued to scream at the top of her lungs, even after we repeatedly asked her not to. The manager said he would have them removed if we didn’t.
“We warned her again but then she fell to the ground like a dead weight so I carried her legs and my colleague carried her arms.
“When we got outside, she was still screaming at the top of her voice.”
As she was led out, she kept “yelling” that she wanted to speak to Sir David as loudly as possible.
Representing herself at Poole Magistrates Court during her trial, she previously described the statements made by police as “completely factually incorrect”.
She argued that she was never in the restaurant itself, but in the shop on the first floor. Smart said: “At no point in the footage was I in the restaurant, I was in the store.
“In the recordings I was polite and calm. I would argue that the force used to remove me was an assault.’
When Deputy District Judge Clare Boichot found her not guilty today, she told Smart: “The time you were given was not sufficient.
“The officer was trying to get a permit at 8.23pm when he was communicating the situation to an inspector. It was not until 8:40 p.m. that they actually received the papers.
“Given the circumstances and the lack of escalation once you were outside, I do not believe there was sufficient evidence that the defendant was given a reasonable time to comply with the order.
“In total, the incident lasted less than 18 minutes. The defendant was given seconds to comply with the Section 35 order when it was approved.
“I don’t think they had reasonable grounds to believe that your behavior was likely to further escalate.
“There is no escalation in the footage once you are outside and there is no one in the footage to be distressed. I am not satisfied with the Crown’s argument. I find you not guilty.”
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/uncategorized/eco-activist-who-yelled-at-sir-david-attenborough-at-a-fish-restaurant-cleared-of-breaking-the-law/ Eco-activist who yelled at Sir David Attenborough in a seafood restaurant who was acquitted of breaking the law