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’.

Vandalism

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

  • Pedant.

    *Organised. We are English; let us spell like it.

    • Fuck off

      False pedantry. Many educated people (and both Oxford and Cambridge University Presses) use the "z", because that was incontrovertibly the correct thing to do until some over-zealous anti-Americans decided to go with the "s".

    • Pedant-er

      Actually, if you are going to be pedantic, "ize" is earlier English, and Jane Austin always used ize… (Americans have adopted it though as standard) now

      "Organize" was entered into the OED in 1425 (before America had been discovered by Europeans!), and the first recorded use of the verb with an ‘-ise’ spelling in the OED is not until 1755…

      The usual english now is "ise" but either way is fine and English…

      • StoneColdJaneAustin

        Is about to deliver her stone cold stunner, aka, a subtle satire of 19th century gentry.

      • meta-pedant

        The Americas were actually discovered by the Vikings around 1000AD. Dismissed.

    • Hello

      I use the 'z' because my handwriting involves a very squiggly 'z', which I like.

  • Madness.

    The important matter is not whether these women have been found GUILTY – this is IRRELEVANT. The REAL ISSUE is that the Crown Prosecution Service TOLERATES these VANDALS in our society. They should never be allowed onto our streets again, because BUILDINGS HAVE RIGHTS.

    Students of Cambridge, I urge you to SPEAK UP FOR THE RIGHTS OF BRICKWORK.

    • CAPITAL FELLOW

      The REAL ISSUE is HOW MANY CAPITALS you can FIT IN A SENTENCE before the NON-CAPITALS become the STAND-OUT WORDS

    • BricksArePeopleToo!

      Yeah!

    • Socialist Spartan

      Madness? THIS IS CDE!!!

  • Logic

    So if DSK was released due to insufficient evidence and yet these people were convinced of his guilt, then surely, now they have been released due to insufficient evidence, there's nothing wrong with us being convinced of theirs?

    • F. Taylor

      You bourgeois fascist pig! This is completely different. Stop upholding the old patriarchy.

      • is this

        person for real?

    • Emma

      Except that alleged vandalism is a slightly less serious accusation compared to
      several incidents of alleged rape as well as involvement in a prostitution ring, don't you think?

      • More Logic

        So it's OK to presume someone is guilty when the accusation is serious, but when it's only graffiti we should let them off, don't you think?

        • massive goat face

          "5 days ago" 0 replies since. Logic FTW.

  • Public School Boy

    So privileged kids escape charges – i wonder what would have happened if they'd been ARU students?

    • Old Etonian

      Well, as ARU students they'd most likely have criminal records, so I imagine the maximum penalty would have been applied

      • Marge

        I approve of this. Although didn't Perkins mi go to Rut-skin?

  • Average Protestor

    But just because the charges have been dropped doesn't mean they're not guilty! We should pursue Bazin and Slade relentlessly and campaign about their obvious guilt at any events they attend! Graffiti conviction rates are notoriously low due to evidential difficulties, but this doesn't mean it's not a REAL crime affecting REAL buildings in ALL of our towns and cities! We must speak out and stop this graffiti culture!

    • Kort

      The victims usually feel too ashamed to speak out because of outdated societal perceptions that they are somehow to blame. Also they are walls and unable to speak.

  • Guilt joke writer

    Oh shit – it's all been said.

  • Maximus

    If you find yourself alone, riding in green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled; for you are in Elysium, and you're already dead!

  • not joking

    But they probably did do it… I mean in reality, you can say we have to respect the rule of law etc but if I were to meet them and I remembered their names I would be thinking "they're the people who did the DSK graffiti".

    If there is enough evidence to bring charges in England it's 90% likely that they did it.

  • O.J. Simpson

    This is outrageous! I demand that these people be brought to justice! There's more than enough evidence! They've done this shit – you cannot acquit!

  • Please

    can you refrain from putting scare quotes around the phrase "insufficient evidence"?

    • Thank you

      = Can you please report opinions I like as fact?

      • Please

        The preceding words "grounds of" clearly imply that it was the CPS's view, rather than incontrovertible fact. Hence there is no need for the inverted commas. Although technically legitimate since it was a direct quotation, the use of inverted commas serves a completely different purpose here. It's like when papers report resignations for "personal reasons" – there is a double weight to the punctuation.

        • massive goat face

          Well that really depends on how you read it. If a person says they're resigning for personal reasons because they'd rather not talk about their recently deceased baby or something with the press, I'd call that pretty reasonable.

    • Prosecutor…

      but thats the the CPS actually said?

  • Procrastinator

    Interesting article. Who wants free ice-creaaaaaaam?

  • We all know

    DSK got off on a mere technicality. 94% of all rape trials in this country end wihout a conviction (and that's only of the cases that ever make it to court). Does that mean that in all 94% of those cases a rape never happened?

    Three of the five men that were accused of murdering Stephen Lawrence have never been convicted because there's still not enough evidence against them – hypothetically if the Union Society (for some mad reason) wanted to invite them to speak would that be ok as well? After all, the Union Society seems to be saying that if someone hasn't been convicted in court the only other possiblity is that they are innocent.

    Surely any idiot can understand that what is legally or technically the case is not always consonant with what is actually, in reality, the case.

    • We all know

      you raped me. Oh wait there's no evidence. But you're still guilty, right?

    • Article 6.2

      http://www.hrcr.org/docs/Eur_Convention/euroconv3…. A fairly fundamental precept of the legal system you're ignoring there. I don't mean at all to suggest that there's no problem dealing with rape cases in the courts, because there is, (though you should really read this before quoting that arguably misleading statistic http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/7442… but frankly I'd be extremely worried if 'any idiot' was allowed to pass judgement on someone accused of a serious crime, basing their opinions solely on what they've read in newspaper articles and selectively ignoring elements of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    • voice of reason

      The Union Society never make the pretence that the speakers they invite are virtuous. They invite people who are *interesting*: other dubious personalities have included Assange (who is also facing allegations of rape) and Gaddafi. Furthermore, as a private members' club, it is not answerable to CUSU or Cambridge students in general. Since I am not a member and have no plans on joining due to the cost, I will not deign to comment on their selection of speakers.

  • Stats Fail

    The 6% is an attrition rate. That is: of every 100 allegations made to the police, 6 end in a conviction. That's low. I accept that. But it's not to do with trials.

    a. Once the cases get to court, there's about a 58% chance of a conviction. That's actually really high.

    b. The 6% doesn't include people who allege rape, and a conviction is then had, for, say, assault by penetration. So the number which end in *some* conviction is actually higher.

    c. The 6% seems low. But compare it with GBH allegations (which, let's be honest, are probably easier to bring evidence to) where the attrition rate is 4%.

    If people stopped with lousy statistics, then maybe more people would come forward to report crimes.

  • Punter

    I had a bet on with my friends that it was Bazin. If they still aren't convinced I'll be out looking for "sufficient evidence".

    • Superman

      Team up? Batman, you want in on this?

  • Jonathan Sewell

    I see you’ve upgraded your comments system to Disqus – nice move, but also MIIIIIIGHTY CONVENIENT considering the previous comments on this article. :P

  • Censorship

    Tab –
    If you’re going to remove the comments, remove the article.
    You completely missed the point of the video – hundreds of people exposed you for it.
    Have the decency to deal with the consequences of what you publish.

    • Editor

      We’ve had technical changes to the site that have temporarily delayed the publishing of comments prior to the changes.

      We haven’t deleted any comments, nor do we ever do so.

  • a

    Yeah, it’s one of the nuns (I lived there)