Liam Walker QC appeared for Sage Willoughby who was tried in Bristol Crown Court, along with 3 others, for pulling down and damaging the statue of slaver, Edward Colston.
After 3 hours of deliberation, the jury acquitted Mr Willoughby and his co-defendants.
Liam, a former resident of Bristol, used his knowledge of the City to prepare the case and make specific points on the history of Edward Colston and Britain’s involvement in the slave trade.
From the outset of being instructed, Liam worked closely with the local community so that he could present the case for the defence powerfully. As a result of his preparation, Liam was able to call esteemed historian, Professor David Olusoga OBE and respected local community leader, Mr. Lloyd Russell.
In addition to the unique factual aspects of the case presented by Liam, the trial involved new and complex legal arguments:
- Liam successfully submitted that ‘prevention of crime’ could be relied upon as a defence and that the jury could consider whether the presence of the statue itself constituted an offence under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.
- Liam also identified that the jury should consider if the statue constituted an ‘indecent display’ under Section 1 of the, more obscure, Indecent Displays (Control) Act 1981.
- In addition, following the case of DPP v. Ziegler  UKSC 23, the trial is believed to be the first trial in which a jury was required to consider whether a conviction of the defendants would have been a disproportionate infringement of the defendants’ rights under Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
Liam Walker QC was instructed by Vajahat Sharif of Tucker’s solicitors.
To discuss the case please contact Liam Walker’s clerks.