Edward Colston statue: Cases sent to Crown Prosecution Service

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Colston statue lowered into Bristol harbourImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
The statue of Edward Colston was pushed into the harbour after being toppled by protesters

The cases of four people suspected of criminal damage over the toppling of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston have been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The CPS will decide if charges can be brought after the memorial was torn down in Bristol on 7 June.

Avon and Somerset Police said it follows one arrest and eight people voluntarily coming forward.

Five of the nine people have been offered restorative justice.

The force suggested this could entail a fine and some form of community service.

The bronze statue of the 17th Century slave merchant was pulled from its plinth during a Black Lives Matter protest and thrown in the harbour.

Chief constable Andy Marsh told BBC Bristol the "act of damage" took place in "an event which carried a significant amount of risk for Bristol and the community".

Image source, Avon & Somerset Police
Image caption,
The statue was pulled from its plinth on 7 June

Mr Marsh said: "We've worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service throughout this investigation, including over the proposed restorative justice approach for the five of the nine.

"It will be absolutely their independent decision whether the four get prosecuted and go to court, and indeed any of the five, if the five refuse to accept their, what is effectively a conviction, and the out of court disposal."

He said he hoped the action taken will be perceived by the public as the force "fairly and impartially" enforcing the law.

The statue was recovered from Bristol's floating harbour four days after it was thrown in, and is being looked after by Bristol City Council's conservation team.

It is expected to be given a new home in a city museum, and ideas are being sought for what should replace it.

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