The leader of a republican campaign group is taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police over his arrest at the coronation of King Charles.
Graham Smith, leader of Republic, was arrested and held for 14 hours under controversial anti-protest legislation that was passed in the weeks before the event.
Smith advised the Met of the group’s planned protest activities for four months prior to the day. He is seeking a judicial review to asses whether his arrest was lawful.
Six members of the group were arrested under suspicion that they would ‘lock on’ as part of their protest, a tactic now banned under Public Order Bill. They maintain they had luggage straps in a van only to secure their placards for the journey.
Scotland Yard has previously expressed ‘regret’ over the arrests. All six people were released without charge.
Speaking to the BBC, Smith said: ‘I have no doubt senior officers intervened and sought to minimise the impact our protest may have had.’ In the full statement from his lawyers they criticise that a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to protest a coronation was thwarted.
The request for a judicial review claims the arresting officer did not have any reasonable grounds to suspect Smith was planning on breaking the law, on account of the ‘extensive communication and cooperation’ with the Met about the protest.
The Guardian has reported that in an official response from Scotland Yard they have called for the High Court to reject the application as the threshold for arrest is low, and the arresting officer had reasonable grounds.
In total 64 people were arrested at the coronation, with over half being released with no further action taken.