A vigil planned for Sarah Everard “Reclaim These Streets” must not be carried out, the High Court ruled.
The legal challenge to the Metropolitan Police’s decision to cancel the event – scheduled for tomorrow in south London following the death of Sarah Everard – was heard in the High Court this afternoon.
The organizers of the vigil had asked the court to decide on a meeting ban, as Covid-19 was “subject to the right to protest”.
But Justice Holgate denied the motion, despite saying “we all appreciate the tragic circumstances in which this case had to be brought”.
He said it was “unlawful” due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
Lawyers representing the organizers of the vigil agreed that it would be classified as a gathering under coronavirus legislation, but argued that it was “socially distant”.
They also alleged that the Met’s interpretation of the Covid-19 restrictions was in violation of human rights law.
But Judge Holgate ruled in previous court judgments that “the requirements of the law were clearly set out”.
This includes an earlier challenge to the blocking rules by businessman Simon Dolan, which was dismissed by the appeals court in December.
The judge added that “there may be further communication between the applicants and their appointed lawyers and police to regulate the application of the rules and (freedom of expression and assembly) to this particular event”. .
Mr. Justice Holgate concluded, “I refuse to grant the injunction requested. However, I hope that in this judgment I have clarified the application of the law to the extent that it is appropriate for me at the present time. “
At the beginning of the televised hearing on Thursday afternoon, Justice Holgate said, “We all appreciate the tragic circumstances in which this case had to be brought and I am sure we all respect the particular sensitivities.”