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Colston Four protester comments on Court of Appeal judgment

This press statement is further to our earlier press release “Court of Appeal rules on point of law within the acquittal of Colston Four” issued on 28th September 2022. 

Rhian Graham, one of the Colston Four, said:

“Having been on the ground the day Edward Colston’s statue was toppled, I am still confident in saying it was not a violent act. It was the cathartic removal of a memorial to an oppressor of people and an abuser of power, who had too long loomed over the people of Bristol. The fact that it is gone is still right for Bristol.

“The wider implications of the Court of Appeal’s judgement today remain to be seen but I am not disheartened. The positive impact of the toppling for both Bristol, and the anti-racism movement as a whole, can never be undone and this judgement cannot overturn the decision made by a jury of our peers. In court we relied upon more defences than just our Human Rights, such as ‘prevention of crime’ and ‘belief in consent’ and it may be that the jury did not consider the defence in question when deciding our fate. Their basis for acquittal we will never know.

“What I would like to know is why our Government continues to spend time and taxpayer’s money on defending a memorial of a slave trader via this appeal case and the introduction of a maximum sentence of 10 years for damaging a statue (via the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill) when there are so many more pressing issues at hand. My thoughts lie with the most vulnerable who will struggle to eat and stay warm this winter under the watch of our Tory Government.”

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