Lalith de Kauwe secures acquittal in Notting Hill riot trial

Sunday 22 July 2012

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Lalith de Kauwe has secured what is believed to be only the second acquittal in a criminal trial following the August 2011 London riots. After a five-week trial at Inner London Crown Court, the defendant was found not guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit violent disorder and burglary.

The defendant, aged 21, was of low IQ and highly suggestible. He had made signed admissions on arrest and detailed admissions in interview without a solicitor or an appropriate adult present, which the defence contended to be a "false confession".

Misleadingly, the Daily Mail published an article prior to the verdict highlighted the ransacking of the Michelin-starred Ledbury restaurant, carrying a photograph of the defendant, and accused him of targeting other shops.

A total of 17 have been prosecuted over the "Notting Hill riot" which was part of the August 2011 London disorders. In the first trial all seven defendants were convicted. In this trial the three co-defendants were convicted on charges including robbery and conspiracy to commit violent disorder.

Acquittals in riot-related cases are particularly rare, and this case remains the only the second example we are aware of, following a case in April 2012.

Lalith de Kauwe is a senior member of the Garden Court Crime Team.

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