Edward Colston statue toppling trial - Liam Walker represents acquitted defendant

Liam Walker 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.

Liam presented unique factual aspects of the case and legal arguments:

  • Liam successfully submitted that ‘prevention of crime’ could be relied upon as a defence permitting him to call Prof Olusoga, 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 submitted that the jury should consider whether 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 [2021] UKSC 23, the jury was required to consider whether a conviction of the defendants would have been a disproportionate infringement of the defendants' rights under Articles 9 and 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Liam was instructed by Vajahat Sharif of Tucker’s Solicitors. The other defendants were represented by Tom Wainwright of Garden Court instructed by Kevin Williams of GT Stewart, Blinne ni Ghralaigh of Matrix, and Raj Chada of Hodge Jones & Allen.

To discuss the case, please contact Liam Walker’s clerks.