Bindmans LLP have sent a pre-action letter of claim dated 12 July 2022 on behalf of Patsy Stevenson, challenging the policing operation at the Clapham Common vigil for Sarah Everard, on 13 March 2021.
The policing at the vigil resulted in Ms Stevenson being forcibly removed from the Clapham Common bandstand, restrained on the ground, handcuffed and arrested. She was also later issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for her attendance at the vigil.
Bindmans has previously exchanged correspondence with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), challenging the legality of Ms Stevenson’s arrest and treatment, but the MPS have maintained that their actions were lawful.
If the MPS continue to defend these claims, Ms Stevenson will require funds to continue litigating her case. She needs this funding in order to protect herself from the police, who will seek payment of their legal costs in the event she loses her case at court, and also to pay other associated costs.
Patsy Stevenson has therefore launched a CrowdJustice page in an effort to raise these funds.
Patsy Stevenson comments:
Many women and individuals attended the vigil for Sarah and several, including myself, were forcibly removed from the vigil and arrested. I was there to pay my respects, express my grief and show solidarity with women everywhere. Women are being murdered just for being women. All we wanted was a space to collectively grieve and express anger, but this was denied to us. Instead, police officers used physical force to police our emotions, silence us and shut down this important space.
Part of the reason I want to bring this case is because I know there are others who do not feel able to – whether it is because of the lack of availability of funding, because they are scared, or to protect themselves against reliving the trauma.
I really hope that this will give others some courage to stand up for what they believe in and know that no matter how big the fight, no matter what title the police have, regardless of the power imbalance, you can fight them, because if someone abuses their power, I believe they must be held accountable.
Patsy Stevenson is represented by Rachel Harger of Bindmans, along with Jude Bunting QC and Pippa Woodrow of Doughty Street Chambers.