Socialist Worker

Michael Mansfield QC sums up as Alfie Meadows trial ends

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2299

Alfie in Kingston last week  (Pic: http://www.guysmallman.com/Guy Smallman )

Alfie in Kingston last week (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The trial of five student protesters concluded on Monday this week at Kingston Crown Court in south London.

The students—Alfie Meadows, Colin Goff, Zac King, Vishnu Wood and Jack Locke—are accused of violent disorder on the anti-fees demonstration outside parliament on 9 December 2010.

Vishnu Wood and Jack Locke also face a charge of arson. All five students deny all the charges against them.

The prosecution summed up its case on Thursday of last week. James Lofthouse, prosecuting, said it was “evident” from repeated film clips taken from “various angles” that day that Alfie Meadows was “prominent” in the “repeated thrusting” of barriers towards the police line on Whitehall in central London.

He added, speaking of Alfie, “As for his involvement with the repeated attacks on police with large sheets of metal fencing, this again was wholly of his choosing.” Lofthouse said that chants of “fuck the police” showed the crowd’s hostility towards the police force.

Michael Mansfield QC summed up the case for Alfie on Friday of last week.

Alfie Meadows suffered a blow to the head from a police truncheon on the demonstration, he said.

Police logs used as evidence in the trial noted the injury of a “17 year old protester” that was “likely to die”. Alfie had to have life-saving brain surgery.

Mansfield pointed out that in opening the case the prosecution had not mentioned Alfie’s injury. Lofthouse had said that it was “not part of their case” but Mansfield countered, “You might think this is a serious omission in a case of this gravity”.

Mansfield reminded the jury that under cross-examination chief superintendent Michael Johnson said that police actions on the day were “unremarkable”.

He added, “If it is unremarkable then we should all be extraordinarily careful before we go on the streets or go to a collective voicing of opinion.”

Judge Dodgson told the jury on Monday of this week, “You may have views on student fees and protest in general—put them aside.

“We are not concerned with the politics of policing demonstrations.

“Our job is solely to establish what has happened here—and was that an offence.”

The jury was sent out to consider its verdict on Monday afternoon. Jurors were still deliberating as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday.


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Tue 17 Apr 2012, 17:51 BST
Issue No. 2299
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