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Lowell protesters win one

NEWPORT – Charges against the two Sterling College students arrested on Lowell Mountain were dismissed by Judge Robert Gerety, Jr. on Wednesday.

The students, David Martorana and Trevor Ring, were charged with contempt of court after they were arrested Nov. 16 while climbing Lowell Mountain during times Green Mountain Power would be blasting for its wind turbine project.

A preliminary Injunction was issued Nov. 1 that prohibited people from being within 1,000 feet of the blasting area during scheduled blast times. The students were warned about the Preliminary Injunction Nov. 9 and had left the area that day when asked to do so by law enforcement.

But on Nov. 16, the state could not prove that the students were notified of the blasting schedule, nor could the state prove that the schedule was posted.

The students’ attorney, Kristina Michelson, had filed a motion to dismiss and a hearing was held last week in Orleans Country Superior Court Criminal Division.

In court that day, the judge questioned how the students were supposed to know when a blast was to take place and the questioned went unanswered.

“There was no evidence from which a reasonable person could infer that the defendants knew the time that blasting would begin on the day they were arrested,” Gerety wrote in his ruling.

Several others have been arrested in connection with the wind project including Chris Braithwaite, the publisher of the Barton Chronicle. Braithwaite was covering the arrest of six protesters who were blocking GMP construction. Braithwaite, along with the protesters, are facing a charge of unlawful trespass.

Braithwaite’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss his case and the six protesters are awaiting their day in court. All have pleaded not guilty.