Police Secretary Kit Malthouse said he would like the Colston Four jury to make a “different decision”

The police have attacked the innocent sentences handed down by the “Colston Four” who in 2020 threw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the port of Bristol.

Rhian Graham, 30, Milo Ponsford, 26, Sage Willoughby, 22, and Jake Skuse, 33, were prosecuted for tearing down a statue during the Black Lives Matter protest on June 7, 2020 in Bristol, when a huge crowd was present.

The indictment said it was “irrelevant” who Colston was, and the case was one of the direct crimes of injury, but the defendants were acquitted by a city crown court jury on Wednesday.

Police Minister Kit Malthouse (pictured) attacked the innocent sentences handed down by “Colston Four” who threw a statue of Edward Colston into the port of Bristol in 2020.

The Sun says Kit Malthouse has rejected a decision to clean up the four people involved in overthrowing the statue from criminal damage.

When asked for his opinion on the decision, the malthouse said he did not agree with it, adding: “I respect the jury that made the decision. I wish they had decided otherwise, but they didn’t. “

Amid claims that the verdict created a “vandal charter,” Attorney General Suella Braverman is considering handing the acquittal to an appellate court so the law can be “clarified for future cases.”

Braverman said the verdict was “confusing” and “carefully considering” whether to use the powers that allow her to request a review so that senior judges have a chance to clarify the legal implications of the case.

Rhian Graham, 30, Milo Ponsford, 26, Sage Willoughby, 22, and Jake Skuse, 33, were prosecuted for tearing down a statue during the Black Lives Matter protest on June 7, 2020 in Bristol in the presence of a huge crowd.

Rhian Graham, 30, Milo Ponsford, 26, Sage Willoughby, 22, and Jake Skuse, 33, were prosecuted for tearing down a statue during the Black Lives Matter protest on June 7, 2020 in Bristol in the presence of a huge crowd.

Meanwhile, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees told Trevor Phillips of Sky that not all anti-racist work is done with a “banner, T-shirt and megaphone” when he defended the city’s record in the fight against racism.

“Some of this is happening by looking at housing policy, looking at affordable homes, looking at what we’re doing to make sure people eat, making adjustments to our mental health system, looking at “the number of judges we get and go and recruit,” he said.

“The things we’ve done over the last few years that haven’t gotten into the newspapers haven’t brought tens of thousands to the streets – but a few years ago they led to 11 of the 33 black black judges in Bristol. and Asian background. “

Mr Rees, the first black mayor elected in the United Kingdom, said the acquittals were “less important” for the city than for the defendants.

“It’s incredibly important in the lives of four individuals because their future has been a bit fragmented in some ways.

“It is less important to work on racial inequality in Bristol on a much larger scale, because when we address racial inequality, we look at the fundamental drivers of political and economic inequality.

“The verdict itself does not really address these very real and immediate problems.”

Mr Rees added that “symbolic actions”, such as the overthrow of Colston, should not be a substitute for “real substantial systemic change.”

The indictment said it was “irrelevant” who Colston was, and the case was one of the direct crimes of injury, but the defendants were acquitted by a city crown court jury on Wednesday.

“This is one of the warnings that I keep saying that we must be careful that symbolic actions and mere events can be replaced by actions of real substantial systemic change,” he said.

“Make no mistake, I don’t like the idea of ​​a statue in the middle of the city and I’m glad it’s not there.

“I think the debate over our history of who we celebrate is important.

“At the same time, symbolic acts, while important, become a problem when they begin to replace acts of political and economic policy and real substance.”

The verdict sparked a debate on the criminal justice system after “Colston Four” decided to appear before a jury and did not deny involvement in the incident, instead claiming that the statue’s presence was a hate crime and therefore not a violation.

The acquittal cannot be overturned and the defendants cannot be tried again without new evidence, but Section 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1972 allows the Attorney General, upon request from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), to ask a higher court to clarify a point of law.

It is not a means of changing the outcome of an individual case.

Colston, a 17th-century merchant, made a fortune trading, but then donated so much money for philanthropic works in Bristol that his name appeared throughout the city on the streets, schools and concert halls.

Suella Braverman (pictured) said the ruling was causing “confusion” and “carefully considering” whether to use the powers that allow her to request a review so that senior judges have a chance to “clarify the law for future cases.”

The government wants to increase the maximum penalty for damage to monuments or statues from three months to ten years, but experts fear it could lead to further acquittals.

Human rights lawyer Adam Wagner said: “The changes are an open invitation to ten times as many Colston cases.

“All cases of damage to public monuments would be before a jury in the Crown Court, because the sentence would be increased to ten years, so we will see much more.”

Edward Colston: A merchant and slave trader who was once considered Bristol’s greatest son

Edward Colston was an integral part of the Royal African Company, which had complete control over the British slave trade

Edward Colston was an integral part of the Royal African Company, which had complete control over the British slave trade

Edward Colston was born into a wealthy merchant family in Bristol in 1636.

After working as an apprentice in a livery company, he began researching the shipping industry and founded his own company.

He later joined the Royal African Company and was promoted to deputy governor.

The company had complete control over the British slave trade, as well as the gold and ivory trade, Africa and the forts off the coast of West Africa.

During his time with the Society, his ships transported about 80,000 slaves from Africa to the Caribbean and America.

About 20,000 of them, including about 3,000 or more children, died during the travels.

Colston’s brother Thomas supplied glass beads, which were used to buy slaves.

Colston became a Conservative MP for Bristol in 1710, but ran for only one term, due to old age and ill health.

He used much of his wealth from the large-scale slave trade to build schools and poorhouses in his hometown.

A statue was erected in his honor, as were other buildings named after him, including Colston Hall.

However, after years of protests by activists and boycotts of artists, the site recently agreed to remove all references to the businessman.

On a statue reminiscent of Colston in Bristol was a plaque that read, ‘Built by the people of Bristol as a memorial to one of the city’s most virtuous and wise sons.’

After the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, sparked by George Floyd’s death in the United States, a statue of Colston with a view of the harbor was torn down.

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