Trial date set for four accused of damaging Colston statue

Support us and go ad-free

A trial date has been set for four people charged with criminal damage in relation to the toppling of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston.

The bronze memorial to the 17th century slave merchant was pulled down during a Black Lives Matter protest on 7 June  last year, before being dumped in Bristol Harbour and later recovered by Bristol City Council.

Charges allege that the four defendants, without lawful excuse, jointly and with others, damaged the statue of Edward Colston, a listed monument belonging to Bristol City Council.

It is claimed that the defendants committed the offence “intending to destroy or damage such property or being reckless as to whether such property would be destroyed or damaged”.

All four defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge against them during the hearing at Bristol Crown Court.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Judge Peter Blair QC, the recorder of Bristol, said he would preside over a trial of the case.

He told the defendants: “You have pleaded not guilty and therefore I am fixing a trial date of December 13 for you which you must attend without fail on that day and the subsequent days.

“We estimate that it will go into a second week. I am suggesting probably setting aside seven to eight days so you need to make sure that your diaries are so arranged.

“There will be a hearing on November 8 to take stock of the case and make sure that everyone is working successfully towards your trial date.

“You don’t have to attend but you may attend if you wish. Your counsel may attend by video link.

“You are on unconditional bail and that will continue, so you are free to leave.”

Ahead of the hearing, the legal firm representing three of the four defendants released a statement.

Raj Chada, head of criminal defence, and Laura O’Brien, associate, at London-based law firm Hodge Jones & Allen, said they would fight the charges “vigorously”.

“We are committed to defending them and their right to a fair trial in this important case. We ask that their privacy is respected,” they said.

The next hearing in the case will take place on November 8 at Bristol Crown Court.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. We know what’s going to happen if the outcome of this trial doesn’t show perspective and understanding of why this was done and why both despite and because of the history there was joy in the act that most right-thinking people shared. It’ll be interesting to see what is deemed more important, making an example of a few people with precedent in mind or escalating a situation to the point where a physical demonstration that some woukd obiviously call a riot was inevitable and right.

      It is the English establishment on trial and we the jury are watching.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.