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Statement In response to Attorney General’s Action on Colston 4 Verdict

Raj Chada, Head of Criminal Defence at Hodge Jones & Allen: “This decision from the Attorney General is extremely disappointing and should give everyone who cares about the integrity of our legal system cause for concern. Referrals such as this are very rare and must be made expeditiously. It is over 3 months since the Jurys verdict.

It is of serious concern that the public announcement of this decision coincides with and seeks to deflect from the Prime Minister being fined for his lock down parties. We appear to be seeing the real-time politicisation of jury trial to distract the public from the Prime Minsters own legal difficulties and to stoke up culture wars.”

On 5 January 2022, four protestors who toppled the statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol on 7 June 2020, known as the ‘Colston Four’, were acquitted by a jury at Bristol Crown Court of charges of criminal damage to the statue.

During the BLM protest, the protestors pulled down the statue of Colston and dumped it into Bristol harbour. Colston, who was responsible for the enslavement of over 84,000 Black men, women and children had been described by a plaque on the statue as a “most virtuous and wise” man. The statue was pushed into the water near Pero’s Bridge – named in honour of an enslaved man, and is now housed at the L Shed Museum, adjoining the M Shed Museum in Bristol.

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