Today the CPS have announced that they will be dropping 109 cases of the 145 arrested at Fortnum & Masons during anti-cuts demonstrations on March 26th. There remains 30 people who the CPS still plan on prosecuting, 13 of which have a trial set for November.
But questions remain as to why the decision was taken to arrest 145 people staging a sit-down protest against tax dodgers and why they continue to prosecute 30 individuals with the same charges as the 109 dropped today.
Lucy, one of the protesters who today had her charges dropped:
I’m relieved that the CPS finally sees sense that prosecuting those fighting unjust cuts with sit-ins is a complete waste of money and time. But if its not in the public interest to prosecute me, why is it in the public interest to prosecute another 30 simply because they had leaflets in their bags. It’s ridiculous. All the arrests were politically motivated, designed to try and scare ordinary people from building a movement against the unjust unnecessary cuts. The charges against the remaining 30 must be dropped immediately.
Robert, one of the 30 remaining defendants:
I’m delighted that most people have now been let off but I am annoyed, frustrated and angry that I will still have to face a very time consuming and stressful trial when not only is it totally ridiculous that we were all arrested for sitting in a shop in the first place, but after the CPS have now admitted it is not in the public interest to prosecute such people, they are still prosecuting 30 of us based on having leaflets and flags! This is clearly an attempt to make an example of us and put people off from protesting, all within our so-called ‘justice system’. Criminal charges against protesters must be dropped immediately.