Tony Blair citizen’s arrest: A guide to civilian justice
11:55 21 January 2014
When barman Twiggy Garcia tried to citizen’s arrest Tony Blair in a Shoreditch restaurant last week, he became not just the fifth to attempt such a feat but the latest in a long line of members of the public who have taken the law into their own hands. Here are some highlights.
Dan Snow, looter-catcher
Most watched on in shock as rioters took to the streets in August 2011. Not Dan Snow. He rugby tackled Ali Abdul-Waga as the 19-year-old tried to make off down Portobello Road with several pairs of trainers, before pinning him to the ground until police arrived.
Oxford Street shoppers
Several members of the public were commended by police for their role in apprehending two men later jailed for a smash-and-grab robbery at Selfridges. Brothers Sam Curtin and Connor Groake, along with others, used axes to break into the Oxford Street department store – but that didn’t stop a few have-a-go heroes chasing them down and holding them until police arrived. One, restaurant worker Mohamed Hussein, was even awarded £500 as compensation.
The former PM regularly endures legal tangles with members of the public, usually in relation to the Iraq War - though he could have been forgiven for thinking his evidence-giving session at the largely well-mannered Leveson Inquiry would pass without incident. Instead, however, 49-year-old David Lawley-Wakelin inexplicably burst in through a curtain behind Lord Justice Leveson to yell that the three-term Labour PM should be arrested for war crimes.
Nicholas Tyers and his 20-year-old son underwent trial for kidnap following their successful citizen’s arrest. Out driving, the chip shop owner encountered the 12-year-old boy he had seen the day previously smash his window, and promptly bundled him into his car. After six months, the pair were cleared.
The arrestblair.org website, which Shoreditch barman Twiggy Garcia claimed inspired his attempt, uses donations to fund rewards for those who try to detain Mr Blair. The first of those (£2,619.67) went to Grace McCann for her attempt to arrest him as he left the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War in 2010. Arrestblair.org says she in turn donated her “bounty” to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Stop the War Coalition and Iraq Body Count.