The campaign to defend the Gaza protestors persecuted in a Metropolitan police campaign won an important victory on Wednesday.
Lawyers representing Jake Smith, charged with violent disorder, managed to secure his release after the Crown effectively dropped the case and he was found not guilty.
The Crown declined to present evidence after admitting some of the video evidence was doubtful and that there had been an 'episode' on the 10th January demonstration which would impact on the case.
The defence barrister Nick Wrack clarified in court that in fact some of the video evidence did not feature Jake Smith at all and that the 'episode' referred to was an assault by the police on Jake which had been caught on camera.
This legal victory must cast serious doubt on the police operation at the demonstrations and their subsequent behaviour.
77 people who protested in December 2008 and January 2009 have been charged, mostly with violent disorder. More than twenty have already received prison sentences of up to two and a half years.
Despite the diverse makeup of the demonstrations, the overwhelming majority of those charged are Muslims
The case shows that the police were involved in violence against protestors at least as early as 5pm on the 10th, and it shows at the minimum a cavalier use of video ‘evidence’.
A number of cases are outstanding including appeals against the heavy sentences of some of those convicted.
To sign the petition in defence of the protestors and get involved with the campaign to defend them please visit the Gaza Defence Campaign page of the Stop the War Coalition website.
Also on the site is the legal team’s statement on Jakes behalf.
Chris Nineham is a founder member of Stop the War and Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.
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