The case has been reported everywhere from the BBC to the Morning Star to the Daily Mail.
Under the media tab there is an in the news section which we are updating daily with all the coverage. Check it out.
The trial into ‘precrime’ pre-emptive arrests and violent raids on squats will conclude at the High Court on Friday June 1st. The results could have an impact on future policing at large events such as the Olympics.
Police abused their powers during the royal wedding with the intention of stifling protest, claim the plaintiffs in four separate Judicial Reviews which are being heard together. In a hearing beginning at 10:00 AM, barristers representing four groups of claimants will make their closing arguments. They argue that the police acted unlawfully, equated protest with criminality and squats with violent disruption.
Karon Monaghan QC, acting on behalf of 15 claimants who were arrested pre-emptively ‘to prevent a breach of the peace’ said that on the day of the royal wedding the police acted with an “impermissably low threshold of tolerance” which had the effect of “the suppression of a dissenting voice.”
Those arrested included four people sitting in a branch of Starbucks wearing zombie facepaint (for a flashmob) and one woman who was arrested for having a flyer about the flashmob.
Absurd and Orwellian
“The hearing has encompassed everything from the absurd to the Orwellian,” said Hannah Eiseman-Renyard, one of the claimants who was arrested for zombie fancy dress. “In the past four days the court has seen the police use an article from the Sun as evidence and heard how a raid on a squat ostensibly for stolen goods saw the police take all the toothbrushes for DNA.”
“The Met argues that every breach of the peace arrest was done for our own good before we provoked an inevitable violent reaction from royalists. Personally, I wasn’t even protesting anything. I went along for the zombie flashmob and I wound up in a police cell. It would be laughable if it weren’t so scary.”
Sam Grodzinski, the police’s barrister, said less intrusive policing, such as confiscating the flyer from one claimant wasn’t an option as “handing it over would not cleanse her of those intentions”. In the case of a minor arrested pre-emptively for ‘criminal damage’ because of two marker pens in his backpack, Mr Grodzkinski said confiscating the pens was not an option as “he could have bought more.”
For the raids on squats the police used extremely crude political profiling to conclude that people growing vegetables Grow Heathrow and mending bikes in Camberwell were intent on disrupting the wedding. Police do not deny that there was an ulterior motive for their raids, but insist that this was not unlawful. Neither the paint bombs, nor the stolen bike parts which the police had search warrants for were found.
The case will be a suspended judgement as Lord Justice Richards and Lord Openshaw consider many hundreds of pages of evidence.
The final day of the four Judicial Reviews into the Metropolitan Police’s abuses of power over the weekend of the royal wedding concludes tomorrow.
The court has heard from barristers representing all four claimants, and the Metropolitan Police’s barrister has responded. Now all that remains is a reply to the Met’s barrister, which each plaintiff’s barrister will do in turn. The hearing tomorrow is not expected to last more than around two hours, starting at 10:00 AM.
This is a great opportunity to hear short, punchy concluding arguments from barristers representing all four judicial reviews.
The hearing is at Court 8 (a relatively small court, so get there early to get a seat).
Day three saw the rest of the barrister Stephen Cragg speaking on behalf of the Grow Heathrow claimants whose squat was searched by riot police the day before the royal wedding, and then the barrister Sam Grodzinski representing the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police began his response to all four Judicial Reviews.
Note: the court case was anticipated to last a full five days, but seems to be running slightly ahead of schedule. At this rate it may either end towards the end of the day on Thursday, or early on Friday morning.
The Fourth Judicial Review: Raid on the Grow Heathrow Encampment
The Barrister Acting for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Replies
Barrister Sam Grodzinski responded to all the cases in turn, beginning with the first Judicial Review relating to pre-emptive arrests for breach of the peace on the day of the royal wedding.
Mr Grodzinski set the scene that the policing operation was a large one and came in the aftermath of the student demonstrations of 2010. The police’s barrister has to argue that the Met did not equate protest with illegality and that there was no unlawful policy of pre-emptive arrests. Therefore, to argue that the arrests were lawful he has to argue that all those arrested were likely to cause an imminent breach of the peace.
Coming up on Thursday the 31st:
Thursday in court (from 10:00 AM onwards) will see the conclusion of the Met’s barrister’s defence in all four cases, and the beginning of the response arguments from the barristers acting on behalf of the claimants in all four cases.
Firstly a clarification: the format for the four judicial reviews is not as stated in the post on the first day of the trial. In fact the barristers representing the plaintiffs will each make their cases, then the barristers acting for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police will respond to all of them, starting with the most recent and ending with the first one. Then the barristers acting for the plaintiffs will have an opportunity to respond.
Tuesday 29th May – Day Two in Court
This was a packed day which saw evidence from all four Judicial Reviews.
The First Judicial Review: 15 Pre-emptive Arrests for Breach of the Peace
The Second Judicial Review: Minor Arrested Pre-Emptively for Criminal Damage
The Third Judicial Review: Raid on a Squat in Camberwell
The Fourth Judicial Review: Police Raid on Grow Heathrow Squat
Grow Heathrow is a community gardens project on the site of former plant nursery. It grows herbs, vegetables, and runs art workshops and bike workshops. It is well-loved by the community. It was also raided on the 27th of April (the day before the royal wedding) by TSG riot police. The claimants in this Judicial Review are represented by Bindmans solicitors with Stephen Cragg as their barrister. This case didn’t get very long before the court broke up for the day.
Coming up on Wednesday the 30th:
Wednesday in court (from 10:00 AM onwards) will see the conclusion of the Grow Heathrow Judicial Review and the beginning of the police’s defence for all four cases.
Monday 28th was the first day of what’s set to be a five day hearing with judges Lord Justice Richard and Lord Openshaw. The hearing will encompass four Judicial Reviews which are:
The first, and largest, Judicial Review is expected to take two days.
On Monday 28th of May Karon Monaghan QC, representing the arrestees, set out her arguments:
In the morning she set out the framework of other cases involving protest, dissent, and arrests and stated that the police’s actions on the day of the royal wedding demonstrated a ‘self-evident policy which equated the intention to protest with criminal conduct’. She stated that ‘what it [this case] not about it the right to protest being absolute – it is not’ but that on the day of the royal wedding the police acted with an ‘impermissably low threshold of tolerance’ which had the effect of ‘the suppression of a dissenting voice’.
Coming up on Tuesday 29th:
Reposted with permission from Transition Heathrow
Beginning tomorrow morning and lasting all week at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand a number of different campaign groups, squatters, lawyers and individuals including Transition Heathrow are taking the Police to court over the Royal Wedding squat raids and heavy handed policing that occurred in the run up to last years wedding.
The judicial review could have groundbreaking implications for policing of protests in the UK and is particularly important with the upcoming Olympics.
The day before the Royal Wedding, our squatted community market garden project ‘Grow Heathrow’ was raided by 40 riot police at 7am in the morning along with 4 other squats across London. Why they chose to pay us an unwelcome visit remains unclear. Our part in the court case is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon so please follow our twitter to find out how it all goes in court.
We are still incredibly angry over the disproportionate raid and act of political policing that occurred last year, lets hope the courts see sense and send out a message to the police that they cannot do anything they like to put people off political protest.
The only other big question that needs answering is: will the police be submitting as evidence the ‘dangerous vegetables’ they found that morning?
This Monday 28 May, sees a landmark Judicial Review begin at the High Court examining policing tactics – including the use of ‘pre-crime’ arrests – employed around last year’s Royal Wedding, which will likely impact future policing of upcoming events such as the Jubilee and the Olympics. 
Hannah Eiseman-Renyard, one of the fifteen people granted leave to challenge their arrests by way of a Judicial Review, said: “Saturday 29 April last year was a day of contrasts. On one hand there was pageantry, celebration, pomp and ceremony as William Windsor and Kate Middleton got married. However, on the other hand, dozens of innocent people were arrested by the Metropolitan Police, handcuffed and detained for crimes which they had not committed, in an apparent attempt to silence potential dissent.”
“These ‘pre-crime’ arrests were supposedly to pre-emptively ‘prevent a breach of the peace’. In reality, they are part of a trend of increasingly heavy-handed tactics employed against peaceful protestors, aimed at creating a ‘chilling effect’ to dissuade others from protesting in the future. With this Judicial Review, we plan to challenge the validity of this style of policing and our unnecessary arrests – the use of such tactics raises questions of constitutional significance with regard to the role of policing in a democracy.”
The Judicial Review hearing will be heard with three other cases arising out of the police’s actions over the course of the Royal Wedding bank holiday weekend: two concerning raids on squats on 28 April by officers of the Metropolitan Police Service and the other arising out of another pre-emptive arrest of a minor on the day of the Royal Wedding. The 15 claimants, who were all released without charge once the public celebrations had finished, are being represented by Karon Monaghan QC and Ruth Brander.  The claimants in the three other cases have different legal teams.
“It is our view that the treatment of our clients was unlawful under common law and was in breach of their fundamental rights,” said a spokesperson from Bhatt Murphy, the civil liberties solicitors who are representing the claimants. “The apparent existence of an underlying policy that resulted in those arrests is a matter of considerable concern with implications for all those engaged in peaceful dissent or protest.”
Who was arrested?
Those arrested were not a cohesive group and they did not have cohesive aims. Some were people on their way to peaceful protests, others were people the police merely suspected of being protestors. Those arrested include members of the ‘Charing Cross 10’ who were on their way to a republican street party, the ‘Starbucks Zombies’ who were arrested from an Oxford Street branch of Starbucks for wearing zombie fancy dress, and a man who was simply walking in London and was arrested by plainclothes officers because he was ‘a known activist’.
Daniel Randall, one of the ‘Charing Cross 10’ arrestees, said: “The British Transport Police officer’s comment confirmed our suspicions that the police were using pre-emptive arrests as a political tactic to keep republican voices off the streets and out of the public eye.”
Erich, a Starbucks Zombie arrestee, said: “I was told by the police, ‘if you’re going to dress like that, you’ve got to expect to be arrested’. And I thought I had to break the law to be arrested.”
 The website Pageantry and Precrime has blog posts, accounts, and footage from various arrests on the day of the royal wedding. It aims to gather all public domain information on the court case into one place https://pageantryandprecrime.wordpress.com/
 Bhatt Murphy is a leading civil liberties firm which specialises in police misconduct, prisoners’ rights, deaths in custody and immigration detention. Karon Monaghan QC –
http://www.matrixlaw.co.uk/Members/29/Karon%20Monaghan.aspx. Ruth Brander – http://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/barristers/ruth_brander.cfm
On the 29th of April 2011, as William Windsor and Kate Middleton got married, the Metropolitan Police arrested dozens of people across London pre-emptively ‘to prevent a breach of the peace’. Innocent people were arrested, handcuffed and detained for crimes which they had not committed, in an apparent attempt to silence potential dissent. The arrests have been dubbed ‘precrime’ in many circles.
Thirteen months later, 15 of those arrested been granted leave to challenge their arrests by way of a Judicial Review which will begin at the High Court on Monday 28th of May 2012. It is hoped that the results of the court case will have an impact on future policing of such events such as the Olympics, or the Diamond Jubilee which will take place immediately after the Judicial Review hearing.
Those arrested on the 29th of April 2011 were not a cohesive group and they did not have cohesive aims. Some were people on their way to peaceful protests, some were people the police merely suspected of being protestors. Those arrested include members of the ‘Charing Cross 10’ who were on their way to a republican street party, the ‘Starbucks Zombies’ who were arrested from an Oxford Street branch of Starbucks for wearing zombie fancy dress, and a man who was simply walking in London and was stopped and arrested by plainclothes officers because he was a ‘known activist’.
All of the claimants were released without charge once the public celebrations had finished.
“It is our view that the treatment of our clients was unlawful under common law and was in breach of their fundamental rights” said a spokesperson from Bhatt Murphy, the civil liberties solicitors who are representing the claimants. “The apparent existence of an underlying policy that resulted in those arrests is a matter of considerable concern with implications for all those engaged in peaceful dissent or protest.”
The Metropolitan Police’s actions over the Royal Wedding weekend are part of a trend of the police using increasingly heavy-handed tactics against peaceful protestors. Such tactics create a ‘chilling effect’ which dissuades others from protesting in the future. The use of such tactics raises questions of constitutional significance with regard to the role of policing in a democracy.
The Judicial Review hearing will be heard with three other cases arising out of the police’s actions over the course of the Royal Wedding bank holiday weekend: two concerning raids on squats on April 28th by officers of the Metropolitan Police Service and the other arising out of another pre-emptive arrest of a minor on the day of the Royal Wedding.
The claimants are being represented by Karon Monaghan QC and Ruth Brander. The claimants in the three other cases have different legal teams.
The website Pageantry and Precrime has blog posts, accounts, and footage from various arrests on the day of the royal wedding. It aims to gather all public domain information on the court case into one place
Bhatt Murphy is a leading civil liberties firm which specialises in police misconduct, prisoners’ rights, deaths in custody and immigration detention.
“The British Transport Police officer’s comment confirmed our suspicions that the police were using pre-emptive arrests as a political tactic to keep republican voices off the streets and out of the public eye.”
– Daniel Randall, Charing Cross 10 arrestee
“I was told by the police, ‘if you’re going to dress like that, you’ve got to expect to be arrested’. And I thought I had to break the law to be arrested…”
– Erich, Starbucks Zombie arrestee
With less than a week to go until the Judicial Review into the ‘preemptive’ arrests begins at the High Court, Daniel Randall, one of the Charing Cross 10, speaks of his experience.
On the day of the Royal Wedding, myself and nine friends were detained outside Charing Cross station before being arrested and taken to Sutton police station, where we were held until we were eventually released without charge. We believe this happened because we are republicans.
We had gone to Trafalgar Square on the morning of the wedding because we had an event on Facebook announcing a republican protest. When we arrived, the massive numbers of both police and private security (as well as the sheer volume of people in the square) made it clear that holding any kind of protest would be impossible. Whoever had organised the event on Facebook had obviously reached the same conclusions as there was no sign of any republican presence whatsoever. We decided to go instead to the street party in Red Lion Square, Holborn, organised by the pressure group Republic. While we were waiting outside the station for another of our friends to return from the shops, British Transport Police (BTP) officers became interested in who we were and what we were doing there. They searched us under Section 60, finding the homemade placards one of us had brought and a loudhailer. As the BTP was searching us, one of their officers said “the Met have been going round, rounding up people before the wedding, to make sure there’s no problems” (see here). We’d heard about the squat raids that had taken place the night before, and the BTP officer’s comment confirmed our suspicions that the police were using pre-emptive arrests as a political tactic to keep republican voices off the streets and out of the public eye.
The BTP told us that the Metropolitan Police also wanted to speak to us, so detained us outside the station until a group of over 20 officers, including members of the Territorial Support Group, arrived and placed us in a “kettle”. After some time, they moved in and arrested us. We were told we were being detained arrested to “prevent a breach of the peace.”
We were held in handcuffs, without being told where we would be taken and if we would be charged, until we were marched onto a (unmarked, civilian) coach and driven to Sutton police station. Only four of us were booked into cells; the rest were held (still in handcuffs) in the yard of the police station. Eventually a senior police officer emerged to tell us they had decided the threat had passed and that we were free to go.
We believe that what happened to us was unlawful, and that it was part of a politically-motivated policing operation that was also unlawful. The powers accorded to the police by Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act allow them to make arrests in cases in which a breach of the peace is “imminent”. Nothing we did or said, or anything in our behaviour, could possibly have given them reason to believe this was the case. We were arrested because of our political opinions and the belief that, because of those opinions, we might do something which might cause a breach of the peace at some point in the future.
The implication of our arrest was that, on 29 April 2011, it was illegal to be a republican within a designated area. We believe that what happened to us, and other Royal Wedding “precrime” arrestees, has dangerous implications for democracy and civil liberties in Britain. The British state cannot be allowed to get away with attacking freedom of thought and expression in this way.