All Criminal Charges Against Jay O'Hara And Ken Ward Arising From The Lobster Boat Blockade Dismissed

September 08, 2014
Image: From Left to Right: Jay O'Hara (holding photo), Attorney Matt Pawa (speaking to reporters) Ken Ward (behind Pawa) and Joan Fund, September 8, 2014 in front of the Fall River Justice Center, Fall River, Mass, following the District Attorney's dismissal of all criminal charges against O'Hara and Ward.

The Pawa Law Group, P.C. is pleased to announce that the Bristol County District Attorney today dismissed all criminal charges against Jay O'Hara and Ken Ward arising from the Lobster Boat Blockade - see On May 15, 2013, O'Hara and Ward anchored their lobster boat, the Henry David T, in the Brayton Point Ship Channel near the Brayton Point Power Plant pier in order to protest the burning of coal. On that same day, the Energy Enterprise was attempting to dock along the pier to unload 40,000 tons of coal. Ward and O'Hara had been charged with felony conspiracy, three misdemeanors (disorderly conduct, failure to act to avoid a boat collision and negligent operation of a boat endangering safety). Matt Pawa and Ben Krass of the Pawa Law Group represented O'Hara and Ward along with attorney Joan Fund of New Bedford, Massachusetts; they had prepared to put on a necessity defense to show that O'Hara and Ward had taken action that was legally justified in light of the grave harms from global warming. Climate scientist Dr. James Hansen and author-activist Bill McKibben would have been called as expert witnesses in the case if it had gone forward. Today was to be the first day of the trial but instead the State dismissed all criminal charges and entered an agreement with O'Hara and Ward to treat the matter as a civil infraction with $2000 of restitution to be paid by each defendant to the Somerset Police Department. Attorney Pawa released a statement to the press that is available here.

  • To see a video of the District Attorney's extraordinary statement agreeing with Jay O'Hara and Ken Ward regarding the urgency of global warming click here

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