Trial Collapses in Farce As Judge Throws Out Case After 10 Minutes

We have always said that this case, and the charges brought against Ed, Dan and Simon were a joke, but today we found out exactly just how much of a joke it was. Their trial lasted for under an hour, over half of which was a recess, granted to the prosecution so that they could try to find their evidence, which they’d neglected to ensure they had.

The trial was presided over by Birmingham’s most senior Judge, who expressed confusion at the charges, and whether they were at all applicable in this case. The prosecution barrister spent about 10 minutes blustering about the history of this particular charge (which was brought in during the Miners Strike, after miners started to drop concrete blocks and bricks onto taxis taking scab workers to pits), before asking for a recess as they did not have any actual evidence to present to the court.

The recess was granted, but alas, half an hour was not enough time for the CPS to produce any evidence, and when the court was brought back into session, the Judge dismissed the case, before the Jury had even been sworn in.

The prosecuting barrister said that the evidence has been lost by police, but admitted that even if they had the evidence it would not have been a strong case anyway, and apologised to the Judge and courts for wasting their time.

It is hard to understand how the case got this far. The defendants should never have been charged in the first place, and having been charged, the case should have been dropped quickly.
Instead, the 3 defendants spent a weekend in police custody, and Ed got held on remand for a further 7 days at Winson Green prison – a decision loudly condemned at the time by civil liberties groups and Lib Dem MP John Hemming.
Ed was also suspended from his work, whilst an investigation took place. His suspension, directly related to the arrest for this action, lasted for 3 months, and ended with him being given a written warning for his actions.

And now today we have seen that the case against them was non-existent.

From the outset, it was clear that this was an attack on the right to protest in general, and on NCAFC and student activists in particular. It was a politically motivated arrest, with charges brought that cannot stick in order to make the events sound like something else. With the Judge today expressing surprise that the charge brought, of causing danger to road users, it is clear that the police and the magistrates court were acting politically, rather than because of any criminal activity.

Today has been a victory. We are going to put Freedom of Information requests to the police and CPS to find out how much this has cost the taxpayer, and the defendants are currently looking at taking legal action as well.