Charges of aggravated trespass against 109 people accused of storming Fortnum and Mason have been dropped. A sit-in organised by campaign group UK Uncut was held at the luxury food store on Piccadilly, central London, in March in protest over alleged tax avoidance by the business's part-owners. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided the prosecutions were not necessarily in the public interest. But it is continuing to pursue cases against 30 others who were charged. UK Uncut claimed about 200 of its supporters forced themselves into the shop - known as the Queen's grocer - as trouble flared in central London.
Police arrested 145 people and 139 of those were charged. Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS London, said: "I have decided that the cases against 109 individuals who were charged after protesting in Fortnum and Mason on 26 March should be discontinued. "However, we will continue to pursue the other 30 cases through the judicial process." She said that there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction for the offence of aggravated trespass against all the defendants, but decided that a prosecution was not necessary in the public interest.
She said this was because of the fact that the sit-in was a single incident, the defendants had not been involved in similar offences previously and that they played only a minor role in the offending behaviour. She also said that if the defendants had been convicted the court would be likely to impose only a nominal penalty.