Justice served on those who obstructed officers at St Paul's eviction

Shergroup - A Company with History and Heritage at its Heart After a 3 day trial at City of Westminster Magistrates Court, 10 defendants were found guilty of the charge that on the 28th February 2012 within the grounds of St Paul's Cathedral, City of London, intentionally obstructed an enforcement officer who was engaged in executing a writ issued from the High Court an action contrary to section 10(A1) and (4) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. In addition, a further defendant was found guilty of being drunk and disorderly but was acquitted of the charge of obstruction.

In his summing up of the case, which lasted from the 16th to the 18th of July, District Judge Barrow said that he "was in no doubt that the defendants' actions were willful and that they intentionally obstructed the bailiffs who were in the process of executing a High Court writ". He had previously dismissed submissions made by the five-strong defence team who had argued that there was no case to answer.

The judgment also held that the actions of the Enforcement Officers, the City of London and the City of London Police during the course of the preparation and execution of the eviction were proportionate and legitimate. It is without doubt that the professionalism of all the officers involved on the night contributed to the successful outcome of the eviction operation.

This has been a complex and challenging case involving Writs and Orders issued by the High Court, and upheld by the Court of Appeal, yet all those who gave evidence for the prosecution did so in a clear, calm and professional manner. In particular the judge praised the evidence given by David Asker, one of Shergroup's Authorised High Court Enforcement Officers and 'Gold Command' for the eviction operation - David was described as having given his evidence with clarity and judgment and having come across as a highly professional individual. He was also praised and thanked for his calmness and assistance by the officers who had conducted the case.

The praise David received was all the more deserved when one bears in mind that this was the first time he had ever had to give evidence in court in such circumstances, and that he was given a lengthy grilling by 5 different barristers who were representing various defendants - each of whom tried their utmost to unsettle David and to discredit his evidence. It is much to his credit that he displayed complete calm whilst undergoing this character assassination in the witness box and emerged with his integrity and reputation intact.

The 10 found guilty of obstruction were all given 12-month conditional discharges. As they all claimed to be unemployed and not claiming benefits no fines were imposed or costs awarded against them. A prosecution application for 12-month Exclusion Orders to be imposed upon them was dismissed. The person found guilty of being drunk and disorderly was fined £160.

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