News and Events

MPR secures only acquittal in students riots case

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(See our News Archive for 5 May 2011 for first reporting of this case)

On 5 October 2011, a 16 year old schoolboy walked free from a central London Criminal Court after being found not guilty of one charge of violent disorder. This is the first and only student riot case which has resulted in an acquittal before the courts and is a testimony to the way in which our clients’ cases are prepared: uncompromising in our standards.

On 9 December 2010, our client who was then only 15 years old, attended the student demonstrations in London in Parliament Square to exercise his democratic right to protest against the government’s proposals on university tuition fees. It was alleged that our client smashed a window to the Treasury Building and assaulted a high ranking police officer (Inspector) by kicking him in the head during the riots. Our client had always protested his innocence since the day he was arrested by police.

The defence case was that the Inspector was mistaken in the identity of his attacker and the person who is alleged to have smashed the Treasury Building window. In fact our client was acting as peacemaker between the students and the police as he was so shocked by what was happening by some unruly elements at the scene.

We recognised that the case would involve a very pro-active defence and the team at MPR set about devising a case strategy. We asked our client to assist us in trawling through hours of video and CCTV footage on the internet of the student riots in case there was any footage in the public domain that could assist in corroborating our client’s version of events. We were able to locate and obtain some footage from ITN which placed our client at the Treasury Building at the relevant time but actually showed our client trying to push back angry student protesters away from the battle lines of the police officers on duty in attack mode. Whilst this did not prove or disprove our client’s involvement in smashing a window or assaulting a police officer, it did go towards our client’s credibility when he would give evidence at his trial. The ITN clip was played to the court at his trial.

Our next hurdle was to discredit the evidence of the Inspector and his colleague who was the arresting officer. We analysed their witness statements and made our own enquiries and were able to discredit their evidence at the trial. There were also a number of legal points that arose during the trial over the admissibility over certain pieces of evidence which were decided in our client’s favour.

We traced and obtained witness statements from defence witnesses and called them to give live evidence at trial. We also advised our client to call character references at his trial.

We were very pleased with the outcome of this case and so were our client and his family. It meant our client would not have a criminal record and was free to pursue a legal career or even emigrate to New Zealand which he was planning to do in the next few years.

This is a contrast to the advice given to our client’s school friend who had also been charged with violent disorder at the same time but was not represented by MPR. He was advised to admit guilt in order to accept a caution and a speedy conclusion to his case. He now regrets this course of action as the caution will show up on any CRB check in the future.