An eco-activist has been cleared of breaking the law after allegedly berating Sir David Attenborough while he dined at a Michelin-starred fish restaurant.
Emma Smart, 45, was accused of shouting at the 96-year-old naturalist as he ate at Catch at the Old Fish Market in Weymouth, Dorset, demanding that he do more to support climate activists like her.
The incident occurred on November 17, 2022, and footage shown to magistrates depicted Smart shouting up to Sir David, who was sitting on the second floor of the restaurant, before she was removed by staff and arrested by police.
Smart, who is a marine biologist and a member of the Animal Rebellion and Insulate Britain campaign groups, denied the charge of failing to comply with a Section 35 order under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to disperse from the area.
She represented herself and argued that she was never in the restaurant itself, only in the shop on the first floor, and that she was polite and calm in the footage.
Smart also claimed that the force used to remove her was assault.
During the trial at Poole Magistrates’ Court, police officers testified that Smart had been repeatedly asked to leave the premises and stop shouting, but had continued to cause a disturbance.
The manager of the restaurant said he was going to have her removed if the police did not do so. When Smart dropped to the floor, police officers had to carry her out by her arms and legs.
In her defence, Smart argued that the police statements were factually incorrect.
The trial has brought attention to the issue of climate change and the role of activists in bringing about change.
Despite the charges against her, Smart has continued to advocate for more action on climate change, echoing the concerns of many activists around the world.