Six policemen who were charged with attacking pro-hunt demonstrators in Parliament Square in September 2004 have now all been cleared of the charges following the acquittal on Wednesday, 13 September, of PC Kurt Schenk at Southwark Crown Court.
On 15 September 2004, the day the Hunting Act passed through parliament, 20,000 demonstrators filled the area outside the House of Commons. Following the demonstration hundreds of complaints were filed with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) by hunt supporters, alleging police brutality during the control of the crowd. Images taken by Shooting Times’ own staff photographer were sent to the IPCC as evidence, however, despite the many months of investigation, none of the policemen charged was found to have acted maliciously.
Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, of the Metropolitan Police, told the BBC: “Clearly there are lessons to be learnt, and we will be looking to work with the IPCC and the Crown Prosecution Service to examine what these lessons are.”