European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights

United Kingdom: Prince William and Catherine Middleton royal wedding ‘preventive detention’ human rights complaint set for judgement

This week, human rights judges will make known their decision on complaint against the United Kingdom brought by eight people, arrested and detained before a 2011 Royal wedding.

Police feared the British, Irish and British/Spanish nationals would disrupt the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The applicants were arrested and detained for several hours on 29 April 2011, at various places in central London to prevent a breach of the peace during the marriage ceremony.

The European Court decision in the case Eiseman-Renyard and Others v. the United Kingdom (nos. 57884/17, 57918/17, 58019/17, 58326/17, 58333/17, 58343/17, 58377/17, and 58462/17) will be announced on Thursday 28 March.

The applicants, Hannah Eiseman-Renyard, Brian Hicks, Edward Maltby, Patrick McCabe, Deborah Scordo-Mackie, Hannah Thompson, Daniel Randall and Daniel Rawnsley, are variously British, Irish and British/Spanish nationals. They were born in 1986, 1967, 1987, 1987, 1992, 1989, 1987, and 1988 respectively and live in London.

On that day large numbers of foreign royalty and other heads of state were in London, thousands of citizens were expected and the threat level from international terrorism was assessed as ‘severe.’

The police had received intelligence that activities were planned to disrupt the celebrations.

The applicants were taken to different police stations and released without charge once the royal wedding was over.

Their periods of custody ranged from about two and half to five and a half hours.

Brian Hicks, active in republican politics, had wanted to attend a “Not the Royal Wedding” street party in Red Lion Square.

Hannah Eiseman-Renyard and Deborah Scordo-Mackie had intended to take part in a “zombie picnic.”

According to information received by the police, those dressed as zombies would attempt to throw maggots as confetti at the royal wedding procession.

The other applicants had planned to participate in a republican protest in Trafalgar Square.

Most of the applicants had no previous convictions or cautions.

The applicants sought judicial review of their detention which was heard over three instances terminating in 2017 in the Supreme Court.

The applicants argued before the Supreme Court that preventive detention was not compatible with the European Convention, as found by the European Court of Human Rights in a Chamber judgment of 2013 (Ostendorf v. Germany, no. 15598/08).

The Supreme Court considered that the Strasbourg case-law on preventive detention was not clear.

It agreed with the concurring opinion of two of the judges in Ostendorf that the majority had interpreted Article 5 (right to liberty and security) of the Convention too strictly in the case and that preventive detention could be compatible with Article 5 in certain circumstances.

It concluded that there had been nothing arbitrary about the decisions to arrest and detain the applicants and dismissed their appeals.

Relying on Article 5 § 1 (b) and (c) (right to liberty and security), the applicants complain that their arrest and detention was disproportionate and could not be justified.


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