(Taken from "LoomBreaker" - 0161 226 6814)

Total Victory for 'RtS Six'

The "Reclaim the Streets Six" have all walked without so much as a slap on the wrist and remain free to roam the streets. The cases of the 6 charged with public order offences followed last year's RTS action in Manchester (moving from the University to the Mancunion way - see photo) finally went to crown court at the tail end of June. On day one, the prosecution had to drop the case against one defendant admitting they had no evidence.

The prosecution opened their case with a pile of videos from the university CCTV network and a list of 36 police officers. On the face of it, it looked like a simple matter of watching the films, identifying the culprits and sending them down. There were a few basic problems however. Firstly the videos showed a large number of violent and disorderly police officers as they baton-charged their way into a peaceful crowd without warning. Each cop in turn who was cross-examined, including two Super-intendents, had their evidence all but swept away and they even failed to identify one another or sometimes themselves on film. Some officers were required to give their evidence having been cautioned that they themselves might be charged with violent offences. The fact that a number of officers were not displaying their numbers also came to light in evidence given by University workers.

The case for the prosecution done for, three more were allowed to go on the grounds of no case to answer. The two remaining argued separate cases of mistaken identity and legitimate self-defence. The jury took less than half an hour to reach their verdicts of not guilty in both cases.

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© Networking Newsletter (Sept 2000)