Prosecutors have sensationally halted the Met Police’s ‘absurd’ efforts to go after the individuals who attended the vigil for Sarah Everard.
After a vigil organised by new marketing campaign group Reclaim These Streets was aborted following threats of £10,000 fines, a spontaneous vigil occurred at Clapham Frequent which introduced collectively a whole lot of protesters all through the day – together with the Duchess of Cambridge.
Six protesters, together with Dania Al-Obeid and Jeni Edmunds who’ve been publicly crucial of the police, had been accused of flouting Covid guidelines by attending the vigil however the Met had been vilified by the general public for his or her ‘absurd and damaging’ makes an attempt to focus on these people.
However the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) notified attorneys final week that it was to ‘discontinue’ police makes an attempt to criminalise the six – who attended the March 13 vigil final yr – because it was not within the public curiosity, The Guardian has reported.
The massively important victory offers a humbling blow to new commissioner Mark Rowley whose power had been insistent on prosecuting the ladies combating for ladies’s security after Ms Everard was murdered by a serving Met officer Wayne Couzens.
Ms Everard was kidnapped by Couzens, 49, on her approach dwelling in south London however the former disgraced officer now faces a whole-life sentence after driving the 33-year-old lady out of the capital the place she was raped and murdered.
The Met had been closely criticised by the general public after they broke up crowds, arrested protesters and trampled on tribute flowers
Couzens had pretended to be imposing Covid guidelines to get Ms Everard into his automobile.
Dania Al-Obeid, who was handcuffed and arrested on the vigil, knowledgeable the Met that she can be launching authorized motion over the way in which the vigil was policed, together with how she was handled.
She mentioned: ‘It is a victory in its personal proper but it surely doesn’t maintain the Met accountable for his or her actions on the vigil or for his or her selections to criminalise me and others for standing up and talking out over a yr later.’
Abuse survivor Dania Al-Obeid was arrested and handcuffed on the March 13 vigil on Clapham Frequent in 2021
Jeni Edmunds was additionally focused by the Met for attending the vigil and has questioned the power’s abuse of energy. Pictured: At Westminster Magistrates’ Courtroom, London, for a case administration listening to to problem her Covid nice she acquired
Jeni Edmunds, who was one other one of many six focused, was pleased with the choice however questioned the abuse of energy that the Met used.
‘That police used the identical energy abused to coerce Sarah Everard to her homicide to arrest mourners at her vigil speaks quantity,’ she mentioned.
Ms Edmunds, who works at a authorized charity Inquest, mentioned she attended the vigil in response to the behaviour of Met officers in the direction of murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry in addition to Sarah Reed who killed herself following a police assault.
Sarah Everard, 33, was raped and killed by a serving Met Police officer Wayne Couzens as she walked dwelling in south London on March 3, 2021
In response to the prosecutors dropping the makes an attempt to criminalise protesters, Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe of the Met instructed MailOnline: ‘We all know how essential it was for folks to recollect Sarah Everard and voice their anger.
‘Officers took very critically their obligation to safeguard the general public through the pandemic and to steadiness this with the rights of people.
‘The choice to pursue a prosecution in these circumstances is totally a matter for the CPS.’
Disgraced former Met officer Wayne Couzens was handed a life-long sentence
Ms Al-Obeid, 27, from Stratford, east London, Vivien Hohmann, 20, from Clapham, Ben Wheeler, 21, from Kennington, south London, and Kevin Godin-Prior, 68, from Manchester, had been all convicted behind closed doorways below the Single Justice Process.
Unrepentant Met cops justified the arrests by claiming the gathering had turn into an ‘anti-police protest’ they usually felt ‘misery’.
Ms Al-Obeid, a advertising supervisor, was ‘devastated’ after being convicted behind closed doorways as she felt she couldn’t even combat it.
She was on account of face trial earlier than the CPS U-turn after arguing that she had not been given a platform to plead not responsible – together with the others.
The Met had been closely criticised for breaking apart crowds and arresting protesters on Clapham Frequent as they trampled on flowers laid out as tributes.
Pippa Woodrow, barrister for Ms Al-Obeid and Ms Edmunds, mentioned on social media: ‘As I say, I’m delighted for my purchasers, however there’s a lesson right here. Protest is indispensable to our democracy and values. These circumstances present an perception into what occurs after we lose sight of that. Powers used to silence these we don’t like can and are turned on these we do.’
The barrister is hopeful that the Met will now focus its resourced in the direction of defending girls from violence versus making an attempt to silence those that communicate up in opposition to it.
Greater than a yr on from the vigil, the excessive courtroom guidelines that Scotland Yard had not thought-about the human rights of freedom of speech. It additionally highlighted that Covid legal guidelines had been misinterpreted on the time.
However this didn’t cease the Met following via with their makes an attempt to convict the six protesters.
Ms Al-Obeid has raised £6,000 as she seems to be to tackle the power and launch authorized motion in opposition to them – following go well with of Patsy Stephenson who was famously pictured being handcuffed and held down by officers on the similar vigil , though she was not one of many six that the Met got here after.
Patsy Stevenson additionally launched authorized motion in opposition to the Met after she was held down by two male officers on the vigil
That is the second that two officers detained Ms Stevenson in what turned a extensively recognised picture which represented the Met’s remedy of ladies and protesters on the vigil