Newsletter October Newsletter

Court of Appeal and the ‘Colston Four’

You will recall the so-called ‘Colston Four’ pulled down the statue in Bristol of Edward Colston, responsible for shipping more people to be used as slaves than any other trader, in a protest against racism. All four were acquitted of causing criminal damage in January. However, in an appeal triggered by the current Home Secretary Suella Braverman when she was Attorney General, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett in the Court of Appeal has now ruled that protesters cannot use human rights defences when they have been charged with criminal damage. He described the toppling of the statue as a ‘violent’ act, despite the protesters’ intentions. This decision does not overturn the original verdict but will restrict peaceful protesters’ ability to defend their actions in court in future.