HJA questions police investigation process
28th March 2011
Solicitors acting for protestors arrested at
Fortnum & Mason questioned the process by which police had
started their investigation.
A large number of protestors were arrested at
the central London store for aggravated trespass and criminal
damage. They were taken to various police stations throughout
It is normal practice for arrested persons to
be questioned in a recorded interview about their involvement in
any potential offence; however in these cases, the police dispensed
with this normal routine. Instead suspects were detained for
several hours before being asked one question and proceeding to
No information was given to defence lawyers
about why individuals were arrested, apart from the fact that they
were part of a group at Fortnum & Mason.
Chada, a partner at Hodge Jones Allen LLP raised concerns that
each case had not been looked at on its merits and that it was
clear that there were already significant legal problems with any
prosecutions based on "aggravated trespass".
He said "We have previously warned on the
criminalisation of certain acts of peaceful protest and that is
what we are worried about here. We are seeking urgent information
from the CPS about certain aspects of the case against our clients.
On the information that we have to date, many of them should not
have been arrested, let alone face the anguish of court proceedings
several weeks away."
If anyone has been arrested at the protests on
Saturday 26 March or previously, contact Hodge Jones & Allen
LLP on the 24 hour police emergency number: 07659 111 192 or Raj
Chada directly on 020 7874 8367 to discuss whether your actions
could amount to a charge under this section.