Metropolitan police are seeking a further attempt to challenge the district court’s ruling that officers violated the rights of organizers of a guard for Sarah Everard last year.
Supreme Court justices earlier this month denied Met permission to appeal its March decision on the force’s handling of the planned event.
However, Scotland Yard said on Friday that it is now seeking permission from the Court of Appeal to challenge the High Court’s decision.
The Reclaim These Streets (RTS) campaign group, which organized the event in March 2021 in south London, criticized the force, tweeting: “We can now announce that @metpoliceuk is spending more taxpayer money to continue fighting against us in court.
“Despite the High Court’s strong rejection of their ‘hopeless’ application for permission to appeal, they are now trying to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
“Will it never end?”
In response to RTS’s tweet, Met Police said its appeal is not focused on the police work of the guard himself, but decisions and communication with RTS prior to the event.
The force said: “The reason we are appealing this case is that we believe there are important principled points about the role of the police in advising organizers prior to a proposed event and whether it should involve an assessment of the significance of the case.
“We believe that clarity on these issues is of utmost importance both to citizens and their right to freedom of expression and to the police in how they enforce legal restrictions while remaining neutral to the cause behind the event itself.”
RTS originally proposed a socially distant guard for Everard, 33, who was murdered by Met officer Officer Wayne Couzens near where she disappeared in Clapham, south London, in March last year.
The four women who founded the RTS and planned the vigil brought a legal challenge to the force over its handling of the event, which was also intended to be a protest against violence against women.
RTS withdrew from organizing the guard after being told by the force that they would be fined £ 10,000 each and possible prosecution if the event went ahead.
However, a spontaneous guard and protest took place instead, with the participation of hundreds of people led by the direct action group Sisters Uncut. It culminated in clashes between officers and protesters and accusations of harsh police work.
RTS founders Jessica Leigh, Anna Birley, Henna Shah and Jamie Klingler argued that decisions made by the force prior to the planned vigil were a violation of their human rights to freedom of expression and assembly, saying the force did not. assess the potential risk to public health.
In a ruling in March, their claim was upheld by Lord Justice Warby and Mr. Justice Holgate, who found that Met’s decisions prior to the event were “not in accordance with the law”.
After considering a paper application – without a hearing – from the Met to challenge the ruling in the Court of Appeal, the judges refused permission.
However, the force is now asking the Court of Appeal itself to grant permission to challenge the ruling.