Royal Wedding arrests deemed lawful

13 June 2013

The protestors have made applications for Judicial Review to the High Court claiming they were victims of unlawful searches and arrest at the time of the wedding in April 2011.  A total of 20 individuals made applications to the High Court and they were among many more who were arrested or subject to searches before or on the wedding day.  They accused the Metropolitan Police of 'suppressing anti-monarchist sentiment'  in making arrests to prevent disruption to the wedding celebrations. 

Two High Court Judges ruled that the police had acted within their powers and were not guilty of operating an unlawful policy stating "we find nothing in the various strands of the Claimants case, whether taken individually or cumulatively, to make good the contention that the policing of the Royal Wedding involved an unlawful policy or practice, with an impermissibly low threshold of tolerance for public protest".
One of the Claimants, Brian Hicks, was arrested and searched on his way to a 'Not the Royal Wedding' street party organised in the West End.  He was held at Albany Street Police Station and subjected to a strip search. 
Another 16 year old Claimant was stopped, searched, arrested and detained for 9 hours before being released without charge.  His DNA, fingerprints and photographs were taken which the police have subsequently refused to destroy.
Other claims related to the lawfulness of searches made of squats in South London under search warrants issued the day prior to the Royal Wedding.  Those Claimants stated that although the warrants authorised searches for stolen bicycles, bike parts and computers that they believe the real purpose was to prevent disruption to the wedding.  
On the day prior to the wedding, searches were conducted of a climate camp near Heathrow Airport, using a warrant which Claimants stated was legally flawed.
All claims of Human Rights and statutory violations were dismissed by the Judges, lawyers for the Metropolitan Police having argued that the police action was justified and proportionate.
Karon Monaghan QC who represented the majority of the Claimants, argued that her clients were all arrested under unlawful policy to prevent disruption to the wedding, stating that the arrests were pre-emptive.  The case related to 'the most important of constitutional rights, namely the right to free expression and the protest, both of which are elemental the a properly functional democracy'. 
The Metropolitan Police stated that there were 'ample grounds' for the searches and arrests of each of the 20 individuals making application to the Court and that the aim of the Metropolitan Police had been to stop what officers 'reasonably believed would be an imminent breach of the peace of criminality on the day of the Royal Wedding'.