Couple in court over fracking protest

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A former director at East Riding of Yorkshire Council and his wife have appeared at Beverley Magistrates’ Court charged with obstructing work at a gas exploration site near Walkington during an anti-fracking protest.

Jonathan Mager, 63, and his wife Valerie, 64, pleaded not guilty to the offence which is alleged to have taken place at the gas extraction site at Crawberry Hill on May 15.

The charge against the couple, of Park Avenue, Beverley, is that they acted “with a view to compelling another person, namely Jordan Tote, to abstain from doing an act which that person has a legal right to do.”

The case was adjourned for trial, which is scheduled to last one day, on July 31 at 9.30am.

District judge Frederick Rutherford told the couple they must attend on that date, otherwise a warrant could be issued for their arrest and the trial could proceed in their absence.

The couple were granted unconditional bail.

Jonathan Mager is a former director of Children, Family and Adult Services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

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