Met Police: Force denied permission to appeal against Sarah Everard vigil ruling

The court ruling stated that “none of the grounds of appeal has a reasonable prospect of success, and there is no other compelling reason for an appeal to be heard”.

The Met Police has been denied permission to appeal a ruling that they breached the rights of the organisers of a planned vigil for Sarah Everard.

The High Court ruled last month that the force breached organisers’ freedom of speech by telling them they could not hold the event on Clapham Common due to Covid restrictions.

Reclaim These Streets celebrating at the High Court. Credit: Jamie Klingler

And Scotland Yard then said it planned to appeal against the judgement.

But now the court has ruled in favour of campaigners from Reclaim These Streets, and denied the force permission to open an appeal.

The court ruling stated that “none of the grounds of appeal has a reasonable prospect of success, and there is no other compelling reason for an appeal to be heard”.

A woman is arrested during a vigil for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common. Credit: Hollie Adams/Getty Images

Speaking to LondonWorld minutes after the ruling was published, Jamie Klingler from Reclaim These Streets, said she felt “absolutely vindicated” in the decision.

She said: “After the last round, when I thought that they would take the judge’s decision and they didn’t, I kind of lost my belief that they will do the right thing and stop wasting public money.

“But I am again vindicated and overjoyed that we absolutely did the right thing by standing up to them and continuing to stand up to them.”

Jamie Klingler. Photo: LondonWorld

Ms Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, was kidnapped near Clapham Common by serving Met Police officer Wayne Couzens on March 3 2021.

The parliamentary protection officer then raped and murdered her, before burying her body in Kent woodland. He is currently serving a whole-life tariff.

After Ms Everard’s death, Reclaim These Streets organised a vigil at the Clapham Common bandstand, which the Met cancelled citing Covid restrictions.

The murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Metropolitan Police officer a year ago is thought to be one of the reasons why confidence in police has dropped.

However, Londoners gathered anyway, and the Met was criticised after pictures emerged of officers violently arresting mourners in handcuffs.

The court judgement blocking any appeal was published today, stating judges have ruled in the case between Reclaim These Streets members, the claimants Jessica Leigh, Anna Birley, Henna Shah and Jamie Klingler, and the Met commissioner as the defendant.

The two judges, Lord Justice Warby and Mr Justice Holgate, said: “Upon the defendant’s application for permission to appeal against the decision and order dated March 11, 2022.

“And upon reading the written grounds of appeal and written submissions of the defendant dated March 18, 2022 and the written submissions of the claimants dated March 29, 2022.

“And upon the parties having consented to the determination of the application without a hearing, it is ordered that permission to appeal is refused.”

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick. Credit: VICTORIA JONES/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The judges said this was also due to the fact there were “factual issues in this case which we resolved by reference to established principle”.

“It is not arguable that we erred in principle and see no other reason to believe that the Court of Appeal would be prepared to adopt a different factual analysis,” they said.

The judges added that the force included in its grounds of appeal “submissions [which] appear to us to be unarguable in law” or that “involve selective and misleading analysis of aspects of the judgement, which must be read as a whole”.

While they described some aspects of the force’s grounds for appeal as “clearly wrong” and “misdirected”, and others as “hopeless attempts to challenge reasoned factual conclusions”.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Met officer devastated the trust and confidence of Londoners in the police.

“I have always been clear that in the wake of such a horrendous crime, the policing decisions made around the vigil in her memory eroded trust further in the police.

“As I made clear to the former commissioner, the scenes we saw at the vigil were unacceptable.

“I welcome today’s High Court judgment rejecting the Met Police’s attempts to appeal.

“I remain committed to holding the Met to account and working with them to deliver on the changes needed.”

The Met Police has been contacted for comment.