‘Not right!’ Priti exclaims after the accused in the Colston statue case walk free.
The role of the Home Secretary in the prosecution has been questioned by a barrister who successfully defended one of the Colston Four.
Priti Patel allegedly met with Avon and Somerset Police about the case and told them it was “not right” that she was involved, according to Raj Chada.
The Cabinet minister described the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protests two years ago as “utterly disgraceful.”
She is also said to have had a “frank” conversation with Andy Marsh, the then-chief constable of the Avon and Somerset Police.
A jury at Bristol Crown Court found Rhian Graham, 30, Milo Ponsford, 26, Sage Willoughby, 22, and Jake Skuse, 33, guilty of taking part in the toppling of the 17th-century slave trader’s statue, but acquitted them of criminal damage.
Following the assassination of George Floyd by a police officer in the United States, it became a defining moment in the global wave of protests.
“The prosecution was not in the public interest in any shape or form,” Mr Chada said later.
“I’m astounded that the Crown Prosecution Service has decided to prosecute this case despite our representations.”
“There was always the possibility that the outcome would result in acquittals, and I believe that questions about how public interest was determined should be asked again.”
“What role did the government play in this? What role did Priti Patel play in this? We know she met with Avon and Somerset Police to discuss this case.
“It is not right for the Home Secretary to be involved in ongoing cases; these cases should be handled locally in the interests of justice.”
According to a spokesman for the Home Secretary, the government has no role in prosecutions, with ministers only being able to say that the police should follow the law.
“The Home Secretary is also able to meet with the police about high-profile incidents of national importance,” he added.
Outside Bristol Crown Court, Mr Willoughby knelt to express his joy over the verdicts.
Ms. Patel has previously described kneeling as “gesture politics,” a symbol of defiance against racism.
Last year, she claimed that the Black Lives Matter protests had a “devastating” effect on law enforcement.
“It’s all well and good to support a cause and speak out,” she told GB News.
“I just did it.”
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