Socialist Worker

Cases collapse against student activists as more prepare for trial

Published Tue 1 Nov 2011
Issue No. 2276

Mounted police on a protest (Pic: Jess Hurd)

Mounted police on a protest (Pic: Jess Hurd)


Three student protesters have had accusations against them quashed.

They were accused of violence on a protest against education minister David Willetts.

The students—Simon Behrman, Ashok Kumar and Aaron Peters—joined the protest at the Soas university in London.

The police reacted with violence. Video evidence shows police punching and kicking protesters, and hitting them with batons. But it was the students accused of beaching Section 4 of the Public Order Act.

The students trawled the internet and used video footage and photographs taken by protesters to back up their case.

Simon Behrman was acquitted on Thursday of last week when the judge threw the case out of court. This was after the defence showed evidence that contradicted the police statement.

Simon told Socialist Worker, “It’s an excellent result. My lawyer, Matt Foot, took hours digging up evidence to use in court.

“After the first police witness took the stand, the judge turned to the prosecution and said, ‘You do realise your case has been blown out of the water?’

“The police’s justification for assault has now fallen apart. This case proves that they cannot have it all their own way.”

Ashok and Aaron’s case was dropped on Monday of this week before they even entered court because of the strength of evidence supporting their innocence.


The jury in the trial of Christopher and Andrew Hilliard was dismissed on Friday of last week after they failed to reach a decision.

The two men are accused of violent disorder on the student protest on 9 December last year—a charge they deny.

The case will now go to retrial in the Old Bailey on 26 March, the same date as Alfie Meadows’ trial is due to begin in Kingston crown court.

Alfie had to have life saving brain surgery on 9 December after being struck on the head with a police truncheon during the protest. The police accuse him of violent disorder.


Over a dozen protesters will be sentenced for their part in the student protests and the TUC march on Friday of this week. The defendants have called on their supporters to fill the public gallery at Kingston crown court.


Thirty people charged with aggravated trespass after they occupied posh department store Fortnum and Mason on the 26 March TUC demonstration will start their trials this Friday.

For more on what you can do to support protesters on trial go to www.defendtherighttoprotest.org


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Tue 1 Nov 2011, 19:35 GMT
Issue No. 2276
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