A SLOW motion video purportedly showing a police officer striking former student Alfie Meadows over the head with a baton was stopped from being shown to a jury by a judge today moments after it had been played at normal speed.
The judge intervened saying attribution for the strike was a matter for the civil courts and not relevant to the case in hand.
Alfie Meadows and Zak King are both charged with violent disorder after taking part in the anti-tuition fee demonstration on December 9, 2010.
The footage, filmed by police evidence gatherers at 6.10pm that evening was the culmination of the defence’s case following a detailed analysis of a 10-minute confrontation between protesters and police.
The footage in question showed officers up to three-deep from behind slowly moving forward in an apparent bid to push protesters down Whitehall towards Parliament Square.
Asked to describe what was happening in the original clip Meadows pointed himself out in front of the officers.
He said: “We were facing them and they are coming towards us with batons. I can’t recall any instructions from the police. I was turning around and I was then struck on the head. My hand went up [motioned rubbing his head]. I heard someone scream out. It sounded like they had been struck as well. It was really painful. I realised I had been hit hard. I was dazed. I tried to get away from the police line quickly as I could. I pushed people out of the way. It took a while to get out.”
The matter of how Meadows sustained the injury to his head has been a matter of contention for some and a matter of fact for others.
The defence began the day going over the minutes leading up to the injury continuing where they left off on Thursday.
A video time-stamped at 5.57pm showed a (second) piece of fencing being brought over by the crowd to be used as a ‘defensive shield’ between the police and protesters, Meadows said, before he moved back briefly from the frontline to see what was happening on Whitehall
Heading back into the fray, he said: “I saw people on the floor and police officers moving in and striking them. I tried to help. The officers were hitting people on the head with their shields.”
He said between 6.04pm and 6.07pm he moved back again ‘still concerned’ about the police action. “People felt defenceless,” he said.
He said there was a brief period of calm before officers began ‘pushing’ people down Parliament Street towards parliament Square.
At 6.08pm video evidence showed officers pushing protesters back, who still had hold of the fencing, along Parliament Street when at 6.10pm said he was struck on the head.
After being hit and making his was to Parliament Square Meadows took his mask off and realised his head was bleeding, he said.
Shortly after, he said, bumped into his university lecturer, Peter Hayward, and told him what had happened.
He said: “I was not sure what I was doing. [Peter] said I looked pale, we need to get out and go to hospital.”
After being let out a police medic told Meadows the injury didn’t look bad, but directed him to an ambulance if he wanted to go to hospital.
Hayward and his friend were refused exit so Meadows made his way to the ambulance, near Victoria Station, calling and meeting his mum on the way, which took him to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
He said as he began to lose consciousness, the paramedic and doctor from A&E argued about being seen, but was eventually sent for a scan.
“The next thing I woke up after brain surgery,” he said.
Meadows will be cross-examined on Monday.
Alfie Meadows and Zak King deny charges of violent disorder.