Page last updated at 17:49 GMT, Thursday, 22 May 2008 18:49 UK

Met cleared over protest photos

A legal challenge over the power of the police to photograph peaceful protesters has failed at the High Court.

Andrew Wood, from Oxford, claimed he was harassed by the Metropolitan Police for campaigning against the arms trade.

But on Thursday, the force was cleared of breaching Mr Wood's human rights by photographing him and other activists who had committed no crime.

The Met had said its actions were "justified and proportionate".

Public street

Mr Wood had complained that the policy of openly taking pictures of demonstrators, on the basis that they might become involved in future protests, was an illegal interference with the right to take part in political activity both lawfully and peacefully.

Mr Wood, media co-ordinator for the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), said retaining the photos of him at the annual meeting of Reed Elsevier, was oppressive.

Mr Wood had bought a share in the company, which entitled him to attend the meeting in Grosvenor Square, central London, in September 2005.

But Mr Justice McCombe said Mr Wood was photographed in a public street in circumstances in which the presence of the police - and the press - must have been expected.

He said that if there was any interference with Mr Wood's rights, it was "in accordance with the law and proportionate".

The police insisted that the photos, which they said were taken in a non-intimidatory way, would have been destroyed shortly after the event.

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