Haringey Anti-Cuts Protest case – ruling
September 10, 2011
Full transcript of Judge Tempia’s ruling on No Case to Answer
Ms Laporte and Mr Christian are both charged with assaulting a constable in the execution of his/her duty on 24 February 2011 at Haringey Civic Centre.
Ms Laporte is accused of assaulting PC Ball and Mr Christian is accused of assaulting PC Downing, both members of the TSG [Territorial Support Group].
I have been greatly assisted by skeleton arguments and oral submissions prepared by Mr Rhodes and Mr Wood for the defendants and Mr Benson for the Crown.
The question for me at this stage is whether officers Downing and Ball were acting in the execution of their duty and purporting to do so because there was a breach of the peace or an imminent breach of the peace on the third floor of the Civic Centre.
I have been referred to a number of cases but say I am bound by the leading case of Laporte (HL – 2006), the House of Lords leading authority in this area of law.
On hearing all the evidence and watching the YouTube footage, I am satisfied the Crown have not proved the officers were acting in the execution of their duty, given that the protestors, including the defendants, were being moved away from the canteen, they were not violent or threatening violence, the Haringey officers had the situation under control, the number of officers, when the TSG arrived, greatly outnumbered the protestors and in particular as far as the defendants are concerned there is no evidence to show that when the TSG officers Downing and Ball laid hands on them either of them were breaching the peace, that breach of the peace was imminent and that there was no violence or threat of violence from these defendants.
The prosecution have not provided evidence to prove an essential element of the offence and therefore the charges are dismissed.
District Judge Tempia
Tottenham Magistrates’ Court
8 September 2011