In the Media

Alfie Meadows trial: jurors fail to reach verdict

PUBLISHED April 18, 2012

Jurors have failed to reach a verdict on whether a student who suffered a brain injury at a university fees demonstration is guilty of violent disorder.

Alfie Meadows, 21, was accused of causing disruption during the 9 December 2010 demonstration in central London against plans to treble tuition fees at English universities.

But after more than two days of deliberations, a jury at Kingston crown court failed to agree on whether he was guilty.

The three-week trial of Meadows, from Brixton, south London, and four other young men heard that more than 10,000 people took part in the protest, which coincided with a vote on the proposed tuition fees increase in parliament, and the majority behaved "entirely lawfully".

But prosecutor James Lofthouse said the demonstration was also accompanied by "serious disorder and violence" against police and property. Meadows had to undergo emergency brain surgery after being injured during the protest.

The jury of seven men and five women found Colin Goff, 24, of Beckenham, south-east London, Vishnu Wood, 23, of Edgware, north London, and Jack Locke, 18, of Basildon, Essex, not guilty of violent disorder. But the jurors could not agree on whether to convict Zac King, 21, of Street, Somerset, of the same offence.

Locke was found guilty of arson for setting fire to a wooden bench during the demonstration. Wood was cleared of arson.

Meadows and King will probably face another prosecution for violent disorder, although it is unlikely to take place before October or November, the hearing was told.

Lofthouse told the court: "I think it is very likely we will seek a retrial, but we will of course consider the position."

The Crown Prosecution Service was ordered to announce whether it will bring another trial at a hearing on 27 April.

Judge Paul Dodgson warned Locke that "all options are open" as he adjourned sentencing until 16 May so reports can be prepared.

Meadows' defence counsel, Michael Mansfield QC, said the student did not want to comment after the hearing.