Socialist Worker

Students not guilty of pulling cop off horse

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2302

Two student protesters accused of pulling a police officer off his horse were found not guilty last Friday.

Andrew and Christopher Hilliard attended a protest on 9 December 2010 in central London along with hundreds of thousands of others.

This was a retrial after the first trial last October resulted in a hung jury.

The second trial lasted two weeks at Kingston Crown Court.

Video footage and witnesses both showed that the police used horse charges extensively on the day. The brothers were part of the tightly contained crowd at Broad Sanctuary, off Parliament Square, when police rode horses into it.

PC Jeffrey Cowling claimed the defendants pulled him off his horse.However the court heard that Cowling’s written account of the demonstration had made no mention of being pulled off—only saying he had hit the floor.

Video footage showed him carry out four separate assaults on the brothers. It also emerged that before the protest he had failed to check his horse’s straps, meaning that the saddle was loose.

Christopher and Andrew are relieved that the 18 month ordeal is finally over.

Christopher said, “We are pleased the jury have come to the right verdict and we will be exploring other routes available including criminal proceedings against the police involved.”

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Tue 8 May 2012, 16:29 BST
Issue No. 2302
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