Sarah Everard vigil: police continue to defend arrest of Patsy Stevenson
The defendant is represented by counsel from Bindmans and Doughty Street Chambers
Bindmans LLP have sent a pre-action letter of claim dated 12 July 2022 on behalf of Patsy Stevenson, challenging the police operation at the Clapham Common vigil for Sarah Everard on 13 March 2021.
The policing at the vigil resulted in Stevenson being forcibly removed from the Clapham Common bandstand, restrained on the ground, handcuffed and arrested. She was also later issued with a fixed penalty notice for her attendance at the vigil.
Bindmans has previously exchanged correspondence with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), in which it challenged the legality of Stevenson's arrest and treatment, but the MPS has maintained its actions were lawful.
If the MPS continue to defend these claims, Stevenson will require funds to fight her case. She needs this funding in order to protect herself from the police, who will seek payment of their legal costs in the event she loses her case at court, and also to pay other associated costs. Stevenson has launched a CrowdJustice page in an effort to raise these funds.
Stevenson commented: "Many women and individuals attended the vigil for Sarah and several, including myself, were forcibly removed from the vigil and arrested. I was there to pay my respects, express my grief and show solidarity with women everywhere.
“Women are being murdered just for being women. All we wanted was a space to collectively grieve and express anger, but this was denied to us. Instead, police officers used physical force to police our emotions, silence us and shut down this important space.
“Part of the reason I want to bring this case is because I know there are others who do not feel able to – whether it is because of the lack of availability of funding, because they are scared, or to protect themselves against reliving the trauma.
“I really hope that this will give others some courage to stand up for what they believe in and know that no matter how big the fight, no matter what title the police have, regardless of the power imbalance, you can fight them, because if someone abuses their power, I believe they must be held accountable.”
Stevenson is represented by Rachel Harger of Bindmans, along with Jude Bunting QC and Pippa Woodrow of Doughty Street Chambers.