Not Guilty of Riot
David Rhodes today secured from a unanimous jury at Bristol Crown Court verdicts of not guilty of riot and violent disorder for his client Kadeem Yarde.
The case arose from the 'Kill the Bill' demonstration in the centre of Bristol on 21 March 2021. Thousands of young people marched through the city in opposition to the Government's proposed legislation, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which included the wide-ranging extension of police powers to place restrictions on the right to protest.
The march culminated in a demonstration outside the city's Bridewell police station and the police interpreted the chant 'Kill the Bill' as having a more sinister message. The police had significantly underestimated the numbers of protesters expected and as a result were caught under-prepared and under-resourced. It is fair to say that there was ill-discipline on the part of both the protesters and the police. The result was that by nightfall there were scenes of mass disorder, with the police station smashed up and police vehicles on fire.
Kadeem Yarde is a committed social justice activist with a track record of peaceful protest. The defence case was that in disarming a police officer of a baton and kicking a riot shield to ward off attack, Mr Yarde had acted in self-defence and defence of another when faced with excessive force by police officers.
A number of defendants have been tried for Riot arising from the disturbance in Bristol on 21 March 2021. This was the first complete acquittal.
By a quirk of fate, the jury delivered their verdict on the same day that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, having received Royal Assent, was formally published by the Government.
David Rhodes was instructed by Freya Colvin and Michael Ackah at Hodge Jones and Allen.