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Coronation arrests: Republic leader Graham Smith takes legal action

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The Republic’s leader, Graham Smith, has initiated legal action against the Metropolitan Police, following his arrest during King Charles’ Coronation day. Prior to the demonstration, Smith had discussed plans with Met officers, asserting there was no cause for his detention. So, Coronation arrests: Republic leader Graham Smith takes legal action.

The unfolding situation serves as a potential legal examination of recently endowed police powers. Although the Met acknowledged the ongoing legal proceedings, it refrained from detailed comments. Smith is not only seeking an apology from the force. But has also applied for a judicial review about his and five other demonstrators’ detention.

Previously, the Met had conveyed regret over the detentions. Still, the Republic’s CEO also wants an admission that these detentions were illegitimate, along with compensation and covering of costs. All six Republic members were apprehended, suspected of adopting the ‘lock on’ protest technique. As they possessed luggage straps for their placards.

Smith, detained for over 14 hours, had been planning the demonstration with the Met for months. He alleges that he was barred from contacting the designated Met liaison officer during his arrest on May 6, 2023. By May 8, 2023, the group received information that no subsequent actions would be pursued.

Describing the arrests as an “egregious infringement on peaceful protesters’ rights,” Smith shared his perception that these arrests were a conscious strategy to weaken and interrupt their protest. He is convinced that superior officers attempted to reduce the demonstration’s influence. Smith firmly states that there was no valid premise for their arrest. Especially with no evidence indicating intentions to ‘lock on’.

Alongside these events, officers faced criticism for their alleged excessive approach towards other related arrests. Based on legal documents available to the BBC, Smith contends that there was no tangible basis to suspect him of any wrongdoing, emphasizing his consistent collaboration with the police. These documents also imply that the arrest violated sections of the Human Rights Act. The officer’s decision to detain Smith was not based on a rational belief of necessity.

This arrest occurred shortly after the introduction of new legislation, criminalizing the act of ‘locking on’ during protests under the Public Order Act. Smith clarified to the BBC that the placard straps were neither designed nor competent for ‘locking on’, emphasizing that the law necessitates suspicion of such intent.

In contrast, a Metropolitan Police statement available to the asserted that there were legitimate grounds to suspect Smith of an offense. Assuring that Smith’s human rights remained intact and his arrest was deemed essential. Scotland Yard’s official stance was confirmation of a Judicial Review Claim and avoiding further comments due to ongoing legal proceedings. Whereas the Home Office remained silent on the matter.

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