The Garden Court Chambers Criminal Defence Team brings you a series of online events on 'Drill music, gangs and prosecutions – challenging racist stereotypes in the criminal justice system'
Winners of the Legal 500 Crime Set of the Year, Garden Court Chambers is one of the leading criminal defence barristers' chambers in the UK.
|Date:||Tuesday 22 September 2020|
|Time:||5pm - 6:30pm|
|Areas of Law:||Criminal Defence|
Part 3: Drill music injunctions and ancillary orders
In the third instalment of our lecture series on drill music, Garden Court’s Danielle Manson and Abigail Bache, alongside guest speakers Dr. Adam Elliot-Cooper and Cecilia Goodwin, will consider how the law is being used to curtail the production and performance of drill. Professor Leslie Thomas QC will chair the webinar.
From Criminal Behaviour Orders to civil injunctions, our panel will discuss the history, moral impetus and practical consequences of the imposition of such orders which are frequently being used by the state to suppress and restrict the freedom of expression of artists from the Black community.
The Black Lives Matter Movement has highlighted the racist nature of the legal system. The scales need to be rebalanced so there is no discrimination from the decision to stop and search to the jury’s verdict. The whole system needs to be representative of the community it serves. Maybe then justice will be done and seen to be done.
In many trials the State’s starting point and narrative is racist. Groups of Black youths who have a connection to Drill music, despite their good character and positive aspirations, are wrongly assumed to be members of violent criminal gangs overnight. Police officer ‘experts’ provide evidence of association in parks and ‘on the road’, they ‘translate’ Drill lyrics, so called gang signs and then pronounce on turf and territories. There is often an imbalance when the defence respond. Legal arguments fail to exclude irrelevant or prejudicial material. Defence experts are rarely called. During the summing up, all too often, the prosecution stereotypes remain unchallenged.
The consequences are often devastating with swathes of Black youth being convicted on the back of superficially persuasive gang narratives despite never holding a weapon, being involved in any assault or being part of a gang. The devastation continues with the lurid headlines that accompany the convictions and the vicious circle starts again.
But the State doesn’t stop there. The police continue to use stop and search in a discriminatory and arbitrary manner; they employ the so called gang matrix to criminally categorise and to keep Black youth under surveillance and they ban Drill artists from performing their music, threatening to lock them up if they don’t obey. All of this on the back of centuries of oppression.
In an attempt to rebalance the scales in the legal arena, the Garden Court Chambers Criminal Defence Team is running a series of webinars that examine the State’s criminalisation of Black youth through racist stereotypes of gangs and Drill music. During this journey we will be acknowledging and celebrating the expertise of Black lawyers, Black artists and Black professionals. We are ambitious and hope that one day something along these lines will be used during the training of judges and lawyers.
Speakers, 5pm, Tuesday 22 September 2020
Professor Leslie Thomas QC, Garden Court Chambers (Year of Call: 1998, Year of Silk: 2014)
Leslie is a human rights/civil liberties barrister of Garden Court Chambers. A specialist in inquests and inquiries. He has appeared in many leading high profile death in custody cases. In 2012 he was awarded Legal Aid Barrister of the Year (LALY) and again in 2016 for his work on the Hillsborough disaster. Between 2017 –2020 he was Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers. In 2020 he became the first Black Professor of Law at Gresham College. Professor Thomas writes and speaks regularly on racial equality, diversity and inclusion and his views are widely reported in the mainstream media, legal media and on social media. His lecture series for Gresham College will focus on the use of lethal force, abuse of state power and institutional race discrimination and practices. He is currently one of the senior barristers representing many survivors and families following the Grenfell fire disaster.
Abigail Bache, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers (Year of Call: 2004)
Abigail is an experienced advocate with a busy and varied practice in criminal law. Abigail has defended in cases of murder, rape, serious violence, conspiracy to supply firearms, conspiracy to rob and serious drug offences. She has also had great success in the resulting confiscation cases. Abigail also has a significant amount of experience and expertise representing defendants with learning difficulties and mental health problems.
Danielle Manson, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers (Year of Call: 2016)
Danielle Manson joined chambers in March 2020 and is experienced in defending individuals charged with serious violence, the supply and production of drugs and firearms offences. She has particular expertise representing children and young people and is also a member of JUSTICE’s racial disparity in the youth justice system working party. Whilst studying law at university, Danielle also managed the Innocence Project; working on a range of criminal appeals and applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (‘CCRC’). In recognition of her commitment to the project, she was nominated for the Chancellor’s Medal upon graduation and continues to sit on the CCRC’s Stakeholder Forum as an established practitioner.
More recently Danielle has represented those charged with criminal offences arising out of protests, including, but not limited to, the Extinction Rebellion ‘uprisings’ and the ‘Stop the Arms Fair’ campaign. Danielle is also a committee member of the newly formed grassroots organisation ‘Black Protest Legal Support’ (‘BPLS’) which was formed in the wake of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (‘BLM’) movement following the death of George Floyd and has been responsible for training and co-ordinating over 100 barristers and solicitors as Legal Observers.
Dr. Adam Elliot-Cooper, Research Associate, University of Greenwich
Adam Elliott-Cooper received his PhD from the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, in 2016. He has previously worked as a researcher in the Department of Philosophy at UCL, as a teaching fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick and as a research associate in the Department of Geography at King's College London. He sits on the board of The Monitoring Group, an anti-racist organisation challenging state racism and racial violence.
Cecilia Goodwin, Solicitor Advocate, Stephensons Solicitors
Cecilia is a solicitor advocate with extensive experience in representing individuals charged with serious crime and complex fraud. Having qualified in 2008 she has established a strong client base of individuals from all walks of life due to her personable approach, dedication and tenacity. Cecilia also specialises in representing those under investigation by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). She also undertakes Immigration work, assisting those that wish to enter or remain in the United Kingdom. She is involved in numerous charitable organisations and is currently a trustee of the Stop and Search Legal Project.
Event Series (further details to be announced)
Part 1: Understanding Drill – artist and expert testimony
5pm-6.30pm, Tuesday 8 September
Part 2: Challenging the admissibility of Drill music in criminal trials
5pm-6.30pm, Tuesday 15 September
Part 3 - 'Drill music injunctions and Ancillary Orders'
5pm-6.30pm, Tuesday 22 September 2020
Part 4 - Debunking prosecution myths: “Gang” stereotypes, joint enterprise & racist driven stop & searches
5pm-6.30pm, 29 September 2020
Part 5 - Gangs: Pre-trial issues and Criminal Behaviour Orders
5pm-6.30pm, 6 October 2020