Braverman is under fire as she considers referring the Colston case to the Court of Appeals


The attorney general has drawn criticism saying she is considering whether to refer the case of four men to the Court of Appeals for vandalizing a statue of slave trader Edward Colston.

Suella Braverman said the decision is causing “confusion” and that she is “carefully considering” whether to exercise the powers that allow her to review it, so senior judges have “law for future cases”. to clarify”, despite stressing that “trial by jury is an important custodian of liberty and should not be underestimated”.

Some lawyers said the move smelled of “Trumpian politics” and called an apparent uproar over the acquittal a “complete waste of time” and a loss of trust in the justice system.

Opponents urged Ms Braverman to “not play the political game” when she did not like the results.

Without affecting the outcome of this case, as Attorney General I may refer cases to the Court of Appeal to give senior judges an opportunity to clarify the law for future cases.

Ryan Graham, 30, Milo Ponsford, 26, Sage Willoughby, 22, and Jake Skuse, 33, were on trial for pulling down a statue during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 7, 2020 in Bristol, while a large crowd was present .

He was acquitted by a jury at the city’s Crown Court on Wednesday.

The verdict prompted a debate about the criminal justice system when defendants, dubbed the Colston Four, opted to stand trial before a jury and did not deny their involvement in the incident.

Instead they claimed that the presence of the statue was a hate crime and therefore its removal was not a crime.

Prosecutors said it was “irrelevant” to who Colston was and that the case was outright criminal damages.

The acquittal cannot be reversed and the defendants cannot be tried again without new evidence.

Nazir Afzal, a former chief crown prosecutor for North West, told the PA news agency: “This is a complete waste of time and damages trust in the justice system.”

There are only two circumstances when “a jury’s decision of not guilty is not the end of the case”, he said – when a jury has been “tainted” through intimidation of gangsters, for example, or when a “new, compelling The evidence “be” was not available at the time of trial.

“This only applies to cases like murder and serious sex offences, not criminal damages,” he said.