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Thread: Colston Four Acquitted

  1. #1 Colston Four Acquitted 
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    Since the issues surrounding the removal of statues and monuments to historical figures who were involved with or profited from slavery, has become somewhat of a political hot potato both sides of the pond. It's quite interesting to look at some of the key points from the trial of the so called Colston four, who were recently acquitted of criminal damage charges after they helped bring down and dump the statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston into the Bristol harborside during a Black Lives Matter protest in June of last year.

    At the Bristol Crown Court on January 5th 2022, all four were found not guilty by jury verdict despite each accepting their part in helping to bring the statue and it's subsequent dumping into the water.

    Quote from, thesecretbarrister.com


    "The defendants all admitted their part in pulling down the statue. It was accepted that Ms Graham and Mr Ponsford had brought ropes to the scene, that Mr Willoughby had climbed the statue to pass ropes around its neck and that Mr Skuse had encouraged the crowd to roll the statue into the harbour and into the water. The prosecution case was that these four defendants were acting together and jointly with others, meaning that the prosecution didn’t have to prove that each defendant personally caused damage to the statue. It was enough if a defendant deliberately assisted or encouraged others to damage it, say by providing ropes to be attached to the statue.


    But it is wrong to say – as has been widely misreported – that the Defendants admitted criminal damage. They did not. Looking at our checklist above, while there was no dispute that the statue belonged to another (Bristol City Council held the statue in trust on behalf of the people of Bristol), the other elements of the offence were challenged.


    Three of the defendants argued that the Colston statue had in fact not been damaged, defined as “temporarily or permanently physically harmed”; that its value had increased as a result of it having been pulled down, salvaged and restored in a museum. It follows that they did not accept intending to damage the statue or being reckless as to whether it was damaged.


    But the key issue, raised by all defendants, relates to that phrase “without lawful excuse”. Because the case for all defendants was that, even if damage had been caused, it was not unlawful. And this is where things get interesting."



    https://thesecretbarrister.com/2022/...u-should-know/


    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

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  3. #2  
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    My approach to this is that unlawful actions can have merit but they have greater merit if the unlawful nature of the actions is acceptedPerhaps ,if they had pleaded guilty and used their trial to justify their actions whilst acknowledging the illegality involved it would have been a better course of action An honourable judge might have levied a pointedly light sentence and the actions could have been acknowledged and rewarded in this way.Slavery is a crime that shames us all but there may be no shortcuts to social evolution in the long term(sure there are still those among us who would be happy if those practices were resurrected)


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  4. #3  
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    My approach to this is that unlawful actions can have merit but they have greater merit if the unlawful nature of the actions is acceptedPerhaps ,if they had pleaded guilty and used their trial to justify their actions whilst acknowledging the illegality involved it would have been a better course of action An honourable judge might have levied a pointedly light sentence and the actions could have been acknowledged and rewarded in this way.Slavery is a crime that shames us all but there may be no shortcuts to social evolution in the long term(sure there are still those among us who would be happy if those practices were resurrected)
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  5. #4  
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    Has the editing function just gone carpet?
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    Has the editing function just gone caput?
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  7. #6  
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    My approach to this is that unlawful actions can have merit but they have greater merit if the unlawful nature of the actions is acceptedPerhaps ,if they had pleaded guilty and used their trial to justify their actions whilst acknowledging the illegality involved it would have been a better course of action An honourable judge might have levied a pointedly light sentence and the actions could have been acknowledged and rewarded in this way.Slavery is a crime that shames us all but there may be no shortcuts to social evolution in the long term(sure there are still those among us who would be happy if those practices were resurrected)
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  8. #7  
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    No I can't seem to edit these posts.
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    A key part of their defence though, was that their actions in the circumstances were actually lawful. As you cannot be guilty of criminal damage if you have a legitimate reason for your actions, which in this particular case all 4 defendants claimed to have. A provision of the of the law allows people to act to prevent crimes being committed so long as their actions are proportionate. In this case the defendants, or rather the lawyers on their behalf, advanced the argument that they used reasonable force to prevent a crime, indeed crimes. It was their contention, that the public display of the Colston statue by Bristol City Council was an, again quoting from thesecretbarrister.com, "offence of displaying indecent material contrary to section 1 of the Indecent Displays (Control) Act 1981." They also contended that the displaying of said statue, "was an offence of displaying a visible representation which is abusive, within the sight of a person likely to be caused distress by it, contrary to section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986."

    So, if indeed it was this part of their defence that the jury accepted, all those supporting the Colston four are actually the ones on the side of law and order, with those condemning the verdict either simply unwilling to accept the law as it stands or to ignorant to understand it. Though we'll never know for sure why the jury returned the not guilty verdict.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
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  10. #9  
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    Well there is more than one way to skin a cat.I suppose.But there is perhaps an argument that, even if the actions were lawful they were undemocratic and usurped the powers of the local authorities. (Are you able to edit your posts?)
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    (Are you able to edit your posts?)
    I edited a post yesterday. However, I found long ago that I need to close the browser then reopen it before editing a post. I was able to edit the post yesterday before it would indicate that I had edited the post. Do you have the permission displayed at the bottom of this page to edit your posts?
    There are no paradoxes in relativity, just people's misunderstandings of it.
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    Strange how Bristol has such friendly people considering its history.
    Yet nearby Bath also largely built on the slave trade far less so.
    At Clevedon you can still visit the lookout tower for sugar laden ships approaching Bristol from the West Indies.
    It unsettles me a bit when I see it (on the Poet's Walk).

    Bristol even has its own slave trade walk.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KJW View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    (Are you able to edit your posts?)
    I edited a post yesterday. However, I found long ago that I need to close the browser then reopen it before editing a post. I was able to edit the post yesterday before it would indicate that I had edited the post. Do you have the permission displayed at the bottom of this page to edit your posts?
    Yes. I am trying now on the PC since I was on the mobile before when the problem came up. Here goes.

    And now edited

    So it is just my (or any?) phone . Thank goodness for that

    re edit: I never need to close the browser before editing . Maybe there are so many versions of browsers and OS 's that some give trouble?
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Well there is more than one way to skin a cat.I suppose.But there is perhaps an argument that, even if the actions were lawful they were undemocratic and usurped the powers of the local authorities. (Are you able to edit your posts?)
    I don't hold with that argument; it implies Bristol City Council were acting in accordance with the wishes of Bristolians, yet there is no evidence they had sort to ascertain the prevailing sentiment. In fact, prior to the statue being toppled, they had been petitioned numerous times over the offence and distress the continued veneration of Edward Colston was causing to the community, yet every time they were asked to remove the statue, they simply refused.

    It has to be said, despite his involvement in the slave trade, Colston was also a philanthropist, indeed the benefactor of schools, almshouses, churches and charitable works to help the poor. But irrespective of his actions good or bad, surely the principle has to be that it should be the residents of Bristol who should decide whether they want his statue there, not the Council or interference from the Conservative politicians in the government.

    I haven't had any issues with editing, but that was just correcting a couple typos after reading what I'd written.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Strange how Bristol has such friendly people considering its history.
    Yet nearby Bath also largely built on the slave trade far less so.
    At Clevedon you can still visit the lookout tower for sugar laden ships approaching Bristol from the West Indies.
    It unsettles me a bit when I see it (on the Poet's Walk).

    Bristol even has its own slave trade walk.

    I've never been to Bristol, so they would be interesting for me to see if I get a chance to visit the city. I don't think we should try to hide or get rid of the evidence of slavery; it serves to help us learn from our mistakes, but I don't think we should continue to honor or celebrate the lives of those who profited from what is surely one of the worst atrocities that our species has been involved in. Growing up in Hull we were taught a lot about the slave trade and the lives it destroyed as William Wilberforce was considered a local hero for his role in the abolition of slavery.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
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  16. #15  
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    @Ascended (can't use the quote function either now on this phone)Well is Bristol County Council not the locally elected democratic representative of the citizens of Bristol?Over the pond violent political actions are being more accepted now (eg Jan6)Of course this was only an offence against property and not physical violence
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Maybe there are so many versions of browsers and OS 's that some give trouble?
    It would've been Internet Explorer running under Windows 7 where I needed to close the browser before editing. But I have a new PC now, running Windows 10. I'm currently using Microsoft Edge for this forum (I have four browsers installed, none of which are Internet Explorer). I still close the browser and reopen it before editing a post, but this is a matter of routine and I don't know if I still need to do that.
    There are no paradoxes in relativity, just people's misunderstandings of it.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    I've never been to Bristol, so they would be interesting for me to see if I get a chance to visit the city.
    Book your passage to see the best street art in Britain.
    https://theculturetrip.com/europe/un...rt-in-bristol/
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