The case of student protester Laurence Flanders has collapsed after police admitted a lack of evidence.
Twenty year old Flanders was arrested during the student protests on 30 November last year. He was charged with assaulting an “unknown” police officer.
Metropolitan police snatched Laurence from a kettle in Whitehall and bundled him into the back of a police van.
Laurence said, “I was held for seven hours at West End Central police station. They released me at 1am with no coat and no phone.
“They kept me on bail for months. I denied the charges all along. I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong but I was still worried.”
A few days before the trial was due to start, police said they had nine hours of unwatched video evidence that could incriminate Laurence.
“We requested for the case to be adjurned so we could see this evidence, if it really existed,” Laurence said.
“But when we got to court the police said they could present no evidence and the case was dropped. What a great feeling!”
Laurence said the case shows activists should stand firm.
“The whole climate they’re trying to create is to instil fear into people and stop them taking to the streets,” he said.
“I want to encourage people to keep demonstrating and keep up the momentum.”
He added, “The government is cutting everything—from the NHS to buses. The police are trying to intimidate us. We have to stop them.”
Laurence’s solicitor, Matt Foot, told Socialist Worker, “I am very pleased for Laurence, who had two witnesses supporting his case that he did not assault any officers.”