Police pay out £5,000

Second protester in Gravesend, North Kent, against racism and fascism is to get hundreds of pounds from Kent police

A court in London has agreed to an out-of-court settlement awarding Reg Weston, of Higham, near Rochester, £2,500 and part of his costs. This follows a settlement just before Christmas when Kent police paid out more than £2,500 to Gil Emerson of Gravesend.

This arrangement comes after a three-year long legal argument over the claim by the two of false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and battery. In the settlement the chief constable states that no liability is accepted for the actions of the police. In May 1993 the two were arrested at Gravesend Market while anti-racist leaflets were being given out. Reg Weston gave this statement:

“A passing policeman, and the parents of a local Nazi, said they were ‘offended’. We were going about our lawful business, exposing the dangers of racism and fascism, and criticising the police for both their inaction, and the protection of a racist.

“At that time in Gravesend fascists were actively propagandising. Gravesend has a large Sikh population. A local Nazi has been publicly exposed on national TV. A Sikh elder had been attacked in the town, and spent weeks on a life support machine.

“Police denial of any liability over our arrests, their lame waffling in the local media that the settlement they had to offer was to avoid the expense of going to court and that it was all a ‘business deal’ sounds pathetically thin.

“As far as we are concerned the outcome shows that opposing racism is no crime, and that we have a right to free speech. Why cannot the chief constable openly admit that his policemen were wrong, both to try to prevent the expression of opinion, and then to pursue us to a trial? At that trial, in September 1993, the magistrates threw out the police case. They decided there was no case to answer and awarded us our costs.

“All along we have never felt alone. Now we hope our small victory will encourage others to stand against racism and fascism, and against arbitrary actions of a biased police”.