“Statue Demonstrators Can’t Change Our History”: Boris Johnson Insists People who bring down portraits should not be allowed to change their national heritage after outrage over a court verdict against Colston
- Boris Johnson said vandals should not be allowed to “change our history”
- The Prime Minister did not specifically comment on the ‘Colston Four’ case
- There was widespread anger after the jury cleared four activists of the crime of damage
Boris Johnson said vandals should not be allowed to “change our history” after shouting a court verdict on the Colston statue.
There was widespread anger after a jury cleared four activists of crimes overthrowing a controversial monument in Bristol.
The prime minister did not comment specifically on the case, but he entered the debate with the understanding that whoever wants to remove the statues must do so “democratically”.
Prosecutors were under increasing pressure last night to launch a call for a “perverted” verdict in the “Colston Four” case.
There was widespread anger after the jury acquitted four activists of criminal damage for overthrowing a controversial monument in Bristol.
Former Justice Secretary Robert Buckland urged the Crown Prosecutor’s Office to forward the jury’s decision to the Court of Appeal.
He said urgent action was needed to remove any “ambiguity in the law,” amid fears that the overwhelming verdict could become a “vandal charter.”
Judge Peter Blair QC turned to the jury to ignore the remarks of one defense attorney urging them to be “on the right side of history.” He said it would be “quite bad” for jurors to feel that they had “some additional burden” on your shoulders.
The judge’s remarks suggest that he feared undue pressure on the jury due to excessive lawyers’ rhetoric.
Mr Johnson said the specific case of Colston was a ‘court matter’, but added:
The prime minister did not comment specifically on the case, but he entered the debate with the understanding that whoever wants to remove the statues must do so “democratically”
“What you can’t do is go back and look for ways to change our history or edit it or edit it retrospectively. It’s like someone is trying to edit their Wikipedia entry – it’s wrong. If people want to democratically remove a statue or whatever, that’s fine. But I think we should keep our cultural, artistic, historical legacy in general. ”Downing Street said vandalism” remains a crime “and expects the police to take it” seriously “despite the Colston ruling.
Four activists were acquitted on Wednesday after demolishing a statue of slave trader Edward Colston and throwing it into Bristol Harbor during the Black Lives Matter protest in June 2020. Conservative MPs have expressed concern that the verdict set a “dangerous precedent” that could lead to jury. acquitting defendants for political reasons rather than evidence.
Although the measure proposed by Mr Buckland will not change the outcome of the Colston case, he said it could help prevent the courts from turning into “political pitches”.
Last night, a CPS spokesman said: ‘We are considering the outcome of the case, but by law the indictment cannot appeal against the acquittal.’
Mr Buckland, a former criminal lawyer and part-time judge, said: “It was a perverted verdict.
“But perverted verdicts are a price we sometimes have to pay for an admirable system of jury trials that I firmly believe in.
“If in this case there is any ambiguity in the law and the manner in which it was applied, then it is up to the Public Prosecutor’s Office to consider submitting a request for clarification to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal could issue guidelines to help prosecutors and judges when these types of defenses arise so that our courts do not become a political field.
“It is important that we do not see the evolving fashion where political groups advocate in trials in the hope that a jury will have mercy on them.”
Prosecutors were under increasing pressure last night to launch a call for a “perverted” verdict in the “Colston Four” case
Mr Buckland emphasized the powers under the Criminal Justice Act 1972, which allow the CPS and the Attorney General to refer acquittals to an appellate court. Senior judges could then decide whether the outcome of the proceedings was legally incorrect.
Attorney General Suella Braverman “will carefully consider any CPS filing,” sources said.
Former community secretary Robert Jenrick said: “We are undermining the rule of law, which is the foundation of our democracy, if we accept that vandalism and crime are acceptable forms of political protest. they are not. Whatever the intentions. “
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees – the country’s first black elected mayor – said he wanted to achieve real results in the fight against racism and that the removal of statues “is not at the top of this list”.
“The simplistic thing people are trying to push through here is that they – the people who tore down the statue – are the embodiment of anti-racism and everything that didn’t support them … is for the status quo,” Mr Rees told Times Radio. “It’s a little more complicated.”