Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

The prosecution of six protesters who attended a vigil for Sarah Everard has been dropped.

Hundreds attended the event at Clapham Common in March 2021 after Ms Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Met Police officer Wayne Couzens.

The Met accused six people of breaking Covid-19 lockdown rules at the vigil.

A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said “our legal test for a prosecution was not met”.

Dania Al-Obeid
Image caption,
Dania Al-Obeid was one of six people who were facing prosecution for attending the vigil
One of the six, Dania Al-Obeid, described the decision to drop her case as a “victory”.

She is taking legal action against the Met over its policing of the vigil and its conduct towards her.

Her barrister, Pippa Woodrow, said she was “delighted” that the “ordeal” was over.

Sarah Everard was kidnapped in south London on 3 March 2021 as she was walking home from a friend’s house
The Met was heavily criticised for its handling of the unofficial vigil held on 13 March last year, after a planned socially distanced event was cancelled when organisers were threatened with £10,000 fines.

Footage showed women being handcuffed on the ground and led away by officers.

It took place while Covid restrictions in London meant household mixing, aside from support bubbles and two people meeting in public outdoor places, was banned.

Nine fixed penalty notices were handed out by the Met after the vigil.

Two of those were paid and another was dropped with no further action.

Hundreds gathered at the vigil with many laying flowers for Ms Everard
Six people had been due to stand trial in November. Several of them had already been convicted without their knowledge via a new fast-track system, but appealed against the decisions and secured full hearings.

The CPS confirmed the six prosecutions had been discontinued.

A spokesperson said: “We have a duty to keep cases under continuous review and we concluded that our legal test for a prosecution was not met.”

Met Police Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe said: “We know how important it was for people to remember Sarah Everard and voice their anger.

“Officers took very seriously their duty to safeguard the public during the pandemic and to balance this with the rights of individuals.

“The decision to pursue a prosecution in these circumstances is entirely a matter for the CPS.”