Singing Christmas carols and trying to hand out holiday cookies to those working on the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline on private land has netted a Martic Township man a $200 fine.
After a hearing in which snippets of the singing were played in court, District Justice Stuart Mylin of Quarryville found Mark Clatterbuck guilty of a summary offense of trespassing.
County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Lefever removed an allegation of “terrorizing or threatening the owner of the premises” to the summary offense of trespassing before the hearing began.
A criminal trespassing charge brought by Williams Partners, owner of the pipeline, against a 14-year-old was dropped.
“Smart move,” Mylin deadpanned to Lefever.
Clatterbuck, co-founder of the Lancaster Against Pipelines group, was shepherding what he called a goodwill gathering on Dec. 16 while pipeline workers were welding near Red Hill Road in Martic Township.
The group, which periodically purposefully gets arrested to protest the pipeline, wanted only to spread good cheer on that day, Clatterbuck said.
He said he stepped “three paces” off the public road and outside what he thought was a boundary snow fence to make sure he could see that the carolers were safely off the road.
He testified that two men in hard hats separately told him he was trespassing, but they showed no identification, and he assumed they were workers without authority.
“I was aware of our rights to be on the side of the road, so we stayed,” he said.
Some pipeline workers asked for cookies, he said.
But two security workers for Global Security Corp., the contractor hired by the pipeline builder to protect workers, testified that they warned Clatterbuck multiple times that he was trespassing and to leave or police would be called.
After hearing the testimony of both sides, Mylin said the commonwealth had proved its case that Clatterbuck was trespassing and had refused to leave when warned.