Three Court of Appeal judges who use the feudal title of “Lord” have ruled that London’s Metropolitan Police were entitled to make pre-emptive arrests of republicans who had committed no crime in order to stop them expressing republican views on the day of the marriage of William Windsor and Kate Middleton in 2011.
This ruling confirms the long-established practice of the British elite in treating opposition to monarchy as illegitimate and marginal. British judges have also ruled that a law that makes the expression of republican beliefs illegal should not be overruled on human rights grounds.
Lawyers for those arrested said the case touched on “the most important of constitutional rights, namely the right to free expression and to protest, both of which are elemental to a properly functioning democracy”. However, the Court of Appeal decided to ignore a European Court of Human Rights ruling against pre-emptive arrests in order to back the actions of the police.
It seems clear that the Metropolitan Police take their oath of loyalty to the Windsor clan literally and put the interests of the clan before the rights of republicans in London. Prior to the wedding police Commander Christine Jones said that the wedding day must be one of “joy”. The Police Complaints Commission made the absurd ruling that Jones was not expressing a bias towards the monarchy but instead was giving a warning to those who might commit crime during the wedding. When hacking of telephones by News of the World reporter first came to light the London police acted in cases where Windsor family telephones had been hacked but ignored the many other cases.