Coronavirus - Business Continuity Coronavirus - Law & Practice

Part 4: Debunking prosecution myths: “Gang” stereotypes, joint enterprise & racist driven stop & searches

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Audrey Cherryl Mogan

Shina Animashaun

Dwayne Francis

Stafford Scott

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. 

Book your place below to receive joining details for the whole event series. If you had already signed up for Parts 1-3 in our series you do not need to re-register. 

Date: Tuesday 29 September 2020
Time: 5pm-6.30pm
Venue: Online  
Areas of Law: Criminal Defence

Share This Page

Email This Page

Part 4: Debunking prosecution myths: “Gang” stereotypes, joint enterprise & racist driven stop & searches

Kicking off the fourth part of our series of online events, we bring together a panel of expert speakers for a roundtable conversation on the racism that underpins the “gang” stereotype, including its impact on joint enterprise convictions and the rampant use of stop and search against young Black and Brown men and women.

The roundtable conversation will provide the basis for the events that follow where we examine how best to use experts to dispel prosecution myths, what we can do to challenge discriminatory “reasonable grounds of suspicion” and make legal submissions to exclude so-called gang evidence and enhance the ability to run proactive defences in criminal trials.

Event Series

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 29 September 2020 

Audrey Cherryl Mogan, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers (Co-Chair)
Audrey Cherryl Mogan is a specialist criminal defence and public law barrister with experience in defending individuals charged with serious violence, the supply and production of drugs and firearms offences. She has particular expertise in cases involving victims of trafficking and representing vulnerable children and young people.

Audrey has in-depth knowledge of European and international human rights law gained through ten years in the NGO sector, and is a committee member of Young Legal Aid Lawyers and Board member of the Black Protest Legal Support group which was formed in the wake of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (‘BLM’) movement. Audrey has successfully run a campaign to challenge the nationality requirement in criminal courts, and was recently appointed as a Griffins-Barrow Cadbury Trust Fellow, in joint partnership with Cambridge University, where she will be undertaking research on trafficking and modern day slavery.

Shina Animashaun, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers (Co-Chair)
Shina has successfully defended vulnerable youths and adults charged with a range of offences including serious violence, supply or producing drugs, and theft. He has represented members of high-profile music collectives, and solo artist accused of being part of gangs. Shina has experience challenging the imposition of Criminal Behaviour Orders and similar injunctions. Shina recently spoke at a panel, ‘Know Your Rights – Stop and Search”, which reach capacity at 500 attendees, advising parents and community workers. He is well known and highly regarded for his approach with clients; he has experience beyond his years of call when working with both vulnerable adults and children. 

Dwayne Francis
Dwayne is a youth worker and campaigner and is currently a Schools Inclusion Manager and Deputy Safeguarding Lead. During the COVID-19 pandemic he was stopped and searched by police officers, and has since been a regular commentator on how the Black community is racially profiled by the Metropolitan police and has featured in the Guardian, Financial Times and the BBC.

Lauren Mercurius-Taylor, Director/Manager, Duty Solicitor and Higher Rights Advocate, MTC Solicitors
Lauren is a Criminal solicitor with over 15 years’ experience. She is a fearless advocate, believing unequivocally in achieving justice for all her clients. She benefits from close community-ties which have given her strong core-values and a determination to succeed. She specialises in serious crime, notably murder and fraud. She has conducted a wide range of cases from murder to public order offences with a particular interest in vulnerable adults and young people. Lauren is a court and police station duty solicitor and also has higher rights of audience so can appear on behalf of clients in all criminal courts.

Stafford Scott
Stafford Scott was a co-founder of the Broadwater Farm Defence Campaign and is now a consultant on racial equality and community engagement. He has written for the Guardian and spoken regularly on the impact of the “Gang Matrix”.

Recording

 

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

Part 6 - Gangs: how to exclude so called gang evidence in criminal trials and challenging the Joint Enterprise narrative
5pm-6.30pm, 13 October 2020

Book your place below to receive joining details for the whole event series. If you had already signed up for Parts 1-3 in our series you do not need to re-register. 

 

Latest tweets from Garden Court Chambers

Follow us on Twitter

Tweets by gardencourtlaw

We are top ranked by independent legal directories and consistently win awards.

+ View more awards