Two protesters accused of vandalising The Union walked free after the court found “insufficient evidence”.
The trial of two activists accused of vandalizing the Union last month ended on grounds of “insufficient evidence”.
After protesting Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s talk at the Union Society, Naiara Bazin, from King’s, and Theodore Slade, a Cambridge resident, had been arrested on charges of criminal damage.
Graffiti was found splashed on the historic Union building slamming the arrival of controversial ex-IMF head. Messages included ‘DSK DIE’, ‘WOMEN DESERVE BETTER’ and ‘THIS HOUSE SUPPORTS RAPE CULTURE’.
Spray Day: The messages found on the Union
Naira, 21, and Theodore, 20, both denied the charges.
The Crown Prosecution Service has deemed there to be “insufficient evidence”, saying: “We only take a case to trial if there is enough evidence”.
DSK was arrested for the rape of Nafissatou Diallo in New York last year. He denied all charges and was released due to a lack of evidence.
The controversy, however, refused to die. DSK has since been implicated in a further incident of sexual assault and questioned in a prostitution investigation.
The arrests of Naira and Theodore preceded a violent night of demonstration and attempts to disrupt DSK’s speech. Protestors clashed with police, security, and even a man holding up a sign in favour of free speech, tearing up his placard.
Police made two further arrests of Miles Curtis-Watson, 19, who will stand trial for obstructing a police officer, and Justin Katko, 28, who is accused of using threatening words or behaviour to a police officer. Both deny their charges.
The protesters were part of a 200-strong crowd organized by the CUSU Women’s Campaign. Leading the campaign calling to disinvite DSK was Women’s Officer Ruth Graham, who said that she was “pleased” that the vandalism charges had been dropped.
Cambridge University and the Cambridge Union declined to comment.
Photography by Devon Buchanan