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Bridge Protester cleared of Criminal Damage

The Man on the Bridge | 06.12.2003 10:57 | Bush 2003 | Repression | Cambridge

I was due to take another trip to Parkside Police Station today to find out if they were going to charge me with criminal damage for the graffiti sprayed on the Cambridge war memorial on the same day as my adventure on the cycle bridge - see for details.

However, I woke up this morning to find a 'Cancellation of Police Bail Notice' on my door mat informing me that "enquiries into this matter are now complete and no further action will be taken". They "reserve the right to reconsider the position" should "further evidence come to light".

I'm very interested in their use of the words "further evidence" here. The point is that there was never ANY evidence in the first place. I can be sure of this because when the graffiti was being sprayed, I was at home, in bed, asleep. So the only 'evidence' that they had to suggest that I had defaced the war memorial was that I was an anti-war protester. So, according to police logic, if you engage in peaceful protest against an illegal war you are also likely to be guilty of defacing a memorial to some of the victims of previous wars.

Now call me cynical if you will, but could it be that arresting me for criminal damage, for which they had no evidence at all, might have been an excuse to search my home (which they did while I was in police custody)? This was a week or so before the Bush visit to London and the police were well aware that protests were planned and obviously keen to find out as much about them as they could. It's interesting to note that when I was being booked in at Parkside the arresting officer was suggesting to the custody sergent that his superiors might be interested to know of my arrest, given all the protests that would be happening over the next week or so.

While being interviewed regarding the potential criminal damage charge, I was able to see the 'evidence' that they had removed from my house. It amounted to a small pile of leaflets from various demonstrations, including one of the Stop Bush flyer's produced by the Stop the War Coalition. Their favorite was a leaflet that I had been given on a recent animal rights demonstration in Cambridge because it had a picture of a monkey on it...and the graffiti on the war memorial consisted of several monkey images - Sherlock Holmes would have been proud of this one :-)

I've yet to decide how to proceed from here but I'm not going to be happy to just let this go. I was help for 7 hours in the police station, had my clothing taken away to be forensically analysed (I still haven't got it back!!!), had my house searched and I've been kept waiting until the morning I was to to re-appear at the police station to be told that no further action will be taken. I'll be talking to my solicitor and investigating making a complaint against the police.

Watch this space...

The Man on the Bridge


Display the following 2 comments

  1. Nice one, Bridge Man — SD
  2. more power to you, bridge man — Nickleberry huxtable