Activism

Court denies Met permission to appeal Sarah Everard vigil ruling

The Met had attempted to appeal a ruling that it acted unlawfully by preventing a planned vigil for Sarah Everard

sarah everard vigil

Reclaim These Streets withdrew from organising a vigil for Sarah Everard after they were threatened with fines. Image: Everard family

Judges have accused London’s Met Police of “selective and misleading analysis” in its attempt to appeal a ruling it acted unlawfully when officers disrupted a vigil for the murdered Sarah Everard.

The High Court had previously ruled the Met was “legally mistaken” to tell organisers Reclaim These Streets they could not hold the vigil for Everard, who was kidnapped, raped and killed by a serving Met officer on the pretence of breaching Covid restrictions in March 2021. At the time, police said the vigil would breach Covid rules.

Judges found none of the Met’s grounds for appeal had a “reasonable prospect of success”.

In a new judgement seen by The Big Issue, Lord Justice Warby and Justice Holgate also said some of the Met Police’s arguments involved “selective and misleading analysis” of aspects of the judgement.

A page of today’s judgement, in which judges ruled the appeal had no “reasonable prospect of success”

In its initial ruling, the court found that the Met’s actions had a “chilling effect” on the protest, and that the service had “failed to perform its legal duty to consider whether the claimants might have a reasonable excuse for holding the gathering.”

Organisers of the vigil were told they faced prosecution and fines of up to £10,000 each if the planned vigil went ahead in defiance of Covid restrictions.

Denying permission to appeal, the judges said: “None of the Grounds of Appeal has a reasonable prospect of success, and there is no other compelling reason for an appeal to be heard”.

Reclaim These Streets withdrew from the vigil, which went ahead anyway and led to criticism of the police for heavy-handed tactics.

Last month’s judgement saw the Met’s actions described as “legally mistaken”, “simplistic”, and “misinformed.”

Jamie Klingler, a co-founder of Reclaim These Streets, said on Twitter after permission to appeal had been rejected: “First day with Cressida Dick out of the Met and they get denied permission to appeal.

“If I was still a drinker I’d be in a bathtub of champagne right now.”

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