Colston Four

1 February 2022Feature

Some other acquitted activists respond to the historic Colston Four verdict

To mark the Colston Four acquittal, we asked some other campaigners who’d been found ‘not guilty’ in protest cases for their reactions. We’ve put them in chronological order of their earliest not-on-technical-grounds acquittal (some of them have multiple court victories).

Chris Cole:

I was delighted to see the acquittal of the Colston Four for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it kept an evidently lovely bunch of people out of jail.

Secondly, it led to a whole raft of MPs…

1 February 2022Feature

PN surveys the legal defences employed by the Colston Four

A host of right-wing voices have spoken out against the acquittal of the Colston Four, describing it as ‘perverse’ and claiming – or assuming – that the jury had ignored the law.

Former justice secretary and Conservative MP Robert Jenrick attacked the acquittal by tweeting: ‘We undermine the rule of law, which underpins our democracy, if we accept vandalism and criminal damage are acceptable forms of political protest. They aren’t. Regardless of the intentions.’

The Secret…

25 January 2022News

Statue-topplers found ‘not guilty’ by Bristol jury

The acquittal of four anti-racist activists of charges of criminal damage has led to a storm of protest from right-wing commentators.

Rhian Graham (30), Milo Ponsford (26), Jake Skuse (33) and Sage Willoughby (22) did not deny their roles in bringing down the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston and rolling it into Bristol harbour on 7 June 2020. The Colston Four argued that their actions were legally justified (see p8 for details) and persuaded the jury to return a majority ‘not…

5 July 2021News

Trial scheduled for 13 December

Four people charged with criminal damage to the bronze statue of 18th-century slave trader Edward Colston will face a jury trial at Bristol crown court, starting on 13 December.

The date was set at a hearing on 2 March, after the Colston 4 pleaded not guilty before Bristol magistrates on 25 January, and opted for a trial at crown court before a jury. This is their right because the charge they face carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Bristol city council, who recovered the…

4 July 2021News

Four charged for toppling Colston statue

In December, the Bristol police charged four people with criminal damage to the statue of Edward Colston. The bronze statue was removed from its plinth and tipped into the harbour by anti-racist demonstrators on 7 June 2020. No arrests were made at the time.

Rhian Graham (29), Milo Ponsford (25), Jake Skuse (32) and Sage Willoughby (21) appeared for a plea and directions hearing on 25 January.

Bristol city council, who recovered the statue of the 17th-century slave trader from…

9 December 2020Comment

British warmongering today is rooted in British history argues Nu'man Abd al-Wahid

Perennial warmonger and Rupert Murdoch hack, David Aaronovitch continues kicking away at the now-defeated Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to take charge of the British state. The Johnson-Cummings duo routed Labour more than six months ago in an electoral landslide which on paper guarantees a Tory government for at least the next five years.

But old habits die hard and Aaronovitch not only wants Corbynistas defeated but well and truly buried to the extent that such an egalitarian threat never…