AN ACTIVIST who repeatedly ‘shouted and screamed’ while trying to approach Sir David Attenborough as he dined at a restaurant in Weymouth has been cleared  in court of breaching a dispersal order.

Emma Smart, 45 and from Weymouth, appeared before Poole Magistrates’ Court on Friday, March 17, where a district judge ruled she was not guilty of breaching a Section 35 dispersal order following the incident last November.

Police were called to The Old Fishmarket at around 8.20pm on November 17 after the climate activist, and marine biologist, reportedly refused to leave having ‘attempted to deliver a letter’ to Sir David.

Ms Smart described her actions in the 18 minutes between police arriving and her being arrested as 'a short, peaceful protest'.

Body-worn footage of the incident was played to court in which PC Hall told the defendant “no matter if you were the Queen or the King you wouldn’t be going up there (to see Sir David)."

After a discussion with the officers, Ms Smart can be heard repeatedly shouting: “David Attenborough, my name is Emma Smart, I’m a scientist”, before ‘dropping to the floor’ and being ‘dragged out’ by PC Middleton, PC Hall and the restaurant owner.

Once removed, Ms Smart shouted: “Our time is up David and I am doing everything I can. I am risking everything. Five minutes is all I want. There are seven police officers to arrest me. They are going to arrest a scientist. They are going to arrest a biologist. 

“David, you know what I am saying is true. Don’t let them arrest scientists. I am terrified and frightened for my future”.

PC Hall told the court that a dispersal notice was issued after Ms Smart ‘continued to shout and scream up towards Sir David’ once she was removed from the restaurant. PC Hall could be heard telling the defendant she had ‘ten seconds to leave’ after being served with the dispersal notice - something the judge said was ‘not a reasonable timeframe’.

PC Middleton told the court she believed Ms Smart’s behaviour during the incident was ‘anti-social’ and could reasonably have led to ‘harassment, alarm or distress’

Deputy District Judge Clare Boichot said, after reviewing the body-worn footage, Ms Smart had shown no signs of ‘escalation or (continuing) disruption’ nor had she attempted to get back into the premises once being removed.

Ms Smart, who represented herself, told the court she had previously received correspondence from Sir David and would have left of her own accord had he received her letter and told her ‘no’. 

She said: "Had David Attenborough told me he didn't want to speak to me (then) I would have left.

"I was never in the restaurant itself, I never saw David. He and his team didn't even know I was there."

Ms Smart asserted her actions were covered by Article 10 and Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights - freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Speaking to the Echo the week after she was arrested, Ms Smart said:  “It is not about the individual, it’s about the message. We are past the point of talking about recycling plastic bottles - we are in a situation where the next few years will determine the future of the planet and there are thousands of people saying unless we wake up to the reality then, actually, there is no future.

“We do not need more documentaries, we need action and we need action now”

In finding Ms Smart not guilty, Judge Boichot said she did not find the defendant’s shouting to be “threatening” and that given the lack of escalation and disruption there was not an immediate risk of an offence being committed. She concluded that Ms Smart had not been given ‘a reasonable amount of time to comply with the order’ and cleared her of the single charge against her.