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Police evidence heard at Alfie trial

by Siân Ruddick

The trial of Alfie Meadows and four other student protesters continued at Kingston Crown Court this week.

The prosecution opened its case on Tuesday of last week, stating that the students were involved in “sustained violence” on the 9 December 2010 anti-fees protest.

James Lofthouse, prosecuting, told the court that footage shows Alfie “with others, aggressively confronting police”.

Alfie and the other defendants—Jack Locke, Vishnu Wood, Zac King and Colin Goff—deny violent disorder on the demonstration. Jack Locke and Vishnu Wood are also accused of arson, which they deny.

On Wednesday the court heard an audio recording made during the demonstration by PC Ackers, a police evidence gatherer, describing what he could see on the protest.

The judge and the prosecution stressed that none of the events on the tape described actions by the defendants. Rather it was played to give the jury a picture of what had happened on the day.

Chief Superintendent Michael Johnson of the Metropolitan Police took the stand on Thursday.

The court heard about his long career as a bronze commander and silver commander in the Met’s public order operations.

Johnson took over the silver command of the student protests after the occupation of Tory HQ in Millbank. He said the situation on 9 December was “fairly volatile” and at certain points “hostile”.

Johnson was cross-examined by Michael Mansfield QC, representing Alfie Meadows, on Monday of this week.

Mansfield said, “The suggestion I make on behalf of Mr Meadows is that the operation you planned and implemented was flawed and created a number of dangerous situations and came very close to causing death.”

Mansfield went through the command logs. They record a debrief meeting at 12.15am on 10 December. It was attended by Johnson, the majority of bronze commanders and the gold commander Bob Broadhurst.

The meeting received a report of “a 17-year old protester with serious head injury believed to be hit by a police baton”. At 7.30pm on

9 December the London ambulance service had reported that the protester with a head injury was “likely to die”. This protester was Alfie Meadows. The court was then shown footage which included police use of batons and horses on the day. The cross-examination was set to continue on Tuesday morning as Socialist Worker went to press.


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News
Tue 3 Apr 2012, 18:39 BST
Issue No. 2297
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