The Crown Prosecution Service has, today, formally discontinued criminal proceedings against a protester represented by Bindmans following his prosecution for violent disorder arising from his attendance at an anti-capitalist protest in Central London in February 2020.
Following an extensive investigation conducted by City of London police involving numerous suspects, multiple interviews, seizure and forensic examination of multiple devices, and house searches, our client was eventually charged with violent disorder in October 2022.
Although our client accepted presence at the protest, he disputed that he had been correctly identified by the CPS. The CPS relied on hours of CCTV and Body Worn Footage, in which, the person that the CPS alleged to be our client was circled. The CPS also relied on an ID statement from the former Officer in the Case (OIC).
Earlier today, at Southwark Crown Court – nearly four years after the index event – the CPS offered no evidence on the basis that there is insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction in respect of our client. In court, counsel for the CPS confirmed that a thorough review of the case was taken following a change in the OIC. The former OIC was dismissed from the police for reasons unconnected to this investigation. Publicly available information reveals that the former OIC was dismissed from the police having been found guilty of gross misconduct including racism, misogyny and homophobia.
Hester Cavaciuti, Solicitor at Bindmans, comments:
It appears that mistaken identification was an ongoing issue in this case which has eventually led, nearly four years after the index event, to this prosecution being dismissed. Throughout that period of time, our client has had to contend with the stress and uncertainty of extremely serious criminal proceedings hanging over him which has had a seriously detrimental impact on his mental health and wellbeing. Regardless of the findings of misconduct in relation to the former OIC, it should never have taken so long for the CPS to conduct their review and offer no evidence in this case.
The client was represented by Hester Cavaciuti of Bindmans LLP, and Tom Wainwright of Garden Court Chambers. Hester Cavaciuti was assisted by Shivani Soni, trainee solicitor.