Cuts demo student accused of violent disorder begins retrial

The retrial of Alfie Meadows, a disabled student allegedly injured by police in the student protests of December 2010 and accused of violent disorder, has begun.

Meadows, a philosophy undergraduate at Middlesex University, is accused of intentional and premeditated violence towards police during the kettling of protesters demonstrating against education cuts and tuition fee rises on 9 December 2010.

He underwent emergency brain surgery after being injured during the demonstration. Meadows alleges his injury was due to being hit with a police truncheon.

Meadows is being tried alongside Zac King, also accused of violent disorder during the protest. They were first tried with three other men, who were all found not guilty. During the first trial in March 2012, jurors could not agree a verdict on Meadows and King. A retrial was begun in October 2012 but was aborted due to repeated delays.

The most recent trial began yesterday (Monday 12 February 2013). The pair face a sentence of up to five years if found guilty.

At his first trial Meadows stated: “I exercised my right to protest against something I feel strongly about. I ended up in hospital after being struck on the head with a police baton. I am now being prosecuted for violent disorder at that protest. I strongly deny the charge…

“I hope it results in lessons being learnt by the police for the future policing of protests so that no one will ever endure what my family and I have. I am extremely grateful for all of the expressions of concern and support for me by members of the public.”

Meadows defence counsel is Carol Hawley of Tooks Chambers. He was previously represented by Michael Mansfield QC who has represented the families of Stephen Lawrence and Jean Charles de Menezes and Mohamed al-Fayed in the inquest into the deaths of his son Dodi al-Fayed and Princess Diana.

The trial continues.

Last week a You Gov survey revealed that UK students are £20bn in debt (6 February 2012).