Activist gets new trial on charge from pipeline protest

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — An environmental activist who was convicted of burglary following an oil pipeline protest in northwestern Washington state has been granted a new trial.

The Skagit Valley Herald reported Thursday that 63-year-old Ken Ward was sentenced in June 2017 to community service after a jury found him guilty of second-degree burglary, stemming from a 2016 break-in at the Kinder Morgan facility to shut off the pipeline.

Ward had sought to argue that the criminal act was necessary to avoid harm, but a judge ruled against allowing climate scientists and civil disobedience experts to testify in his defense.

The state Court of Appeals ruled that a jury should have been allowed to decide whether the testimony of the experts was relevant.

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Information from: Skagit Valley Herald, http://www.skagitvalleyherald.com