Edward Colston statue case could be sent to appeal court

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Should the four accused have been found guilty?

  • Yes - criminal damage is criminal damage there were other legal ways to get it removed.

  • No - the statue was a hate crime and it was therefore not an offence to remove it.


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Cwrw666

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Funny how everyone has such firm opinions about this trial when the only people who actually heard all the evidence found the accused not guilty.
Maybe it was an aberration but it takes a lot to persuade a dozen totally independent jurors of whatever political persuasions they might be, to go against what appears to be the case.
 

Brew_DD2

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Funny how everyone has such firm opinions about this trial when the only people who actually heard all the evidence found the accused not guilty.
Maybe it was an aberration but it takes a lot to persuade a dozen totally independent jurors of whatever political persuasions they might be, to go against what appears to be the case.
And that's the beauty of the system, right?
 
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Binkei Huckaback

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Hadn't the people of Bristol been calling for the removeal of the stague for some time?
 

Clint

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Will they call for his legacy to be removed too?
 

Baggins

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There wasn't much objection to removing Jimmy Savile statues that commemorated his charitable work. Why keep statues of slavers? Makes no sense to me.
 

Flat Foot

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Will they call for his legacy to be removed too?
I don't see why you can't have both. It's not controversial to say about anyone "this is what they did which was good, this is what they did that is now perceived as bad, here's also some of the context of how what they did at the time was perceived"

Having a debate about memorials and statues is part of that. Note the Colston statue wasn't placed during his life, in fact it was placed after slavery became illegal in this country and on top of this, as I understand it at the time his full participation in the slave trade in Bristol was not fully known. In all this I've actually found it weird that statues have suddenly become some unchangeable totem, unlike other pieces of art that are generally moved around.

"You can't rewrite history!" - well, you can. New facts and evidence emerges, society changes, we will always view history through different perspectives and lenses. Without that fact history just becomes a list of dates that you're made to recite in school to pass an exam.

"The past is the past" - it is, but it doesn't mean you can't (and shouldn't) learn about it and debate it, and how it has formed society today. Especially when you want to understand different people's worldviews (which has been touched upon on the thread about Mr Blair and the Good Friday Agreement)
 

Brianbrewed

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Hadn't the people of Bristol been calling for the removeal of the stague for some time?
Since 1920.

Any charitable work he may have done was partly funded through the profits of African enslavement.
I can't understand why anyone would have any issues with the statue been pulled down.

People should really educate themselves on the horrors of the African slave trade and how it undermined African socities for generations.
Literally all European empires (including the British) grew rich on the back of this disgusting trade.

After independence, statues of Queen Victoria and Oliver Cromwell were hastily removed.
 

m_kc

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As blunt as it may seem,what happened, happened. We can't turn the clock back or change it. We can only learn and move forward.
Wrong doers and tyrants have existed forever...in remembered history and history documented.
Wasn't Julius Ceasar a complete murderer?
I don't think leaving the statue 'as was', was a case of learning and moving forward. If a plaque had been erected describing how he'd made his money next to the statue, or a another statue had been created that depicted what he'd done to get his ££ then I would agree. Learn, move forward yes, but don't forget or do nothing - I think the council had a responsibility to adress this but couldn't be ******.
 

m_kc

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..But also I think the original statue should have be torn down and a new one raised depicting the unimaginable horror, pain and mental anguish he would have caused. If people were embarresed or two ashamed I'd be happy with this moving to a museum.
 
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GhostShip

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Someone has climbed up a ladder to the Eric Gill sculpture on the BBC building and is currently laying into it with a hammer. I'm not defending Eric Gill (for those that don't know him, as a artist, typographer and sculptor, he was a genius but as a human being, he was a monster and abused his own children), but this is the inevitable outcome of the court decision last week. We can expect to see a lot more of this.
 

The magistrate

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The four accused claimed in court that the presence of the statue was a hate crime and it was therefore not an offence to remove it, if this is the case does it mean any statue that relates to something someone decides is a hate crime is fair game and the person/people causing criminal damage to it will not be prosecuted?



The Attorney General is "carefully considering" whether to refer the Bristol Edward Colston statue case to the Court of Appeal.

Four people were cleared of criminal damage at Bristol Crown Court for toppling the monument in June 2020 during a Black Lives Matter protest.
Suella Braverman said trial by jury was "an important guardian of liberty" but the result was "causing confusion".
The referral would not affect the acquittal, she added.

The verdict cannot be overturned and the defendants cannot be retried without fresh evidence.
Ms Braverman said she would decide whether to use powers that, as Attorney General, allow her to seek a Court of Appeal hearing so senior judges "have the opportunity to clarify the law for future cases".

Criminal justice debate
Milo Ponsford, 26, Rhian Graham, 30, Jake Skuse, 33, and Sage Willoughby, 22, were charged after the memorial to the slave trader was toppled on 7 June 2020. The statue was thrown into Bristol's harbour shortly after.
The defendants are all from Bristol apart from Mr Ponsford, who is from Hampshire, and were cleared of criminal damage after a trial.
The verdict has prompted a debate about the criminal justice system after the defendants opted to stand trial in front of a jury and did not deny involvement in the incident.
The defendants claimed in court that the presence of the statue was a hate crime and it was therefore not an offence to remove it.
Colston was a member of the Royal African Company, which transported about 80,000 men, women and children from Africa to the Americas.
On his death in 1721, he bequeathed his wealth to charities and his legacy can still be seen on Bristol's streets, memorials and buildings.
But the prosecution argued it was "irrelevant" who Colston was and the case was one of straightforward criminal damage.

Several MPs expressed concern after Thursday's verdict, including former communities secretary Robert Jenrick.
"If you've broken the law and committed criminal damage you should be punished," he tweeted.
"If the jury is a barrier to ensuring they are punished then that needs to be addressed."
But, Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said juries were the "great sublime protector of liberties".
Raj Chada, who represented Mr Skuse, said the "defendants should never have been prosecuted".


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My degree is in law for what that may be worth. Criminal damage is not a strict liabilty offence but has the defence of 'lawful excuse'. Now, I have to state that the important features are that I, and I suspect nobody else here was present at the trial to hear all the evidence and arguments, but I would say that it would be a very flexible interpretation of the lawful excuse defence to transfer the action from the property to the person depicted, which seems to be the essence of it. Another interesting point is that all these protesters were allowed to mingle and run amok while the rest of us were locked down. The police stood by and did nothing.
 
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