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The toppling of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston was a “violent” act, appeal court judges have ruled.

They also ruled human rights protections were not available as a defence to the so-called Colston Four, who were acquitted of criminal damage.

The appeal comes after then attorney general Suella Braverman referred the case for legal clarification.

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Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said the ruling does not imply the four were in fact guilty of criminal damage.

The four protesters – who were involved in tearing down the statue in a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol in June 2020 – were cleared at the city’s crown court after a trial in January.

Following the jury’s decision, Ms Braverman referred the case to appeal, so judges could “clarify the law for future cases” – without affecting the acquittal of the four.

Delivering the judges’ ruling, Lord Burnett said that the case “fell outside the protection” of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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