The case against four men charged over the shooting of the Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson has collapsed, after the prosecution announced it would not be offering any evidence against them.
Johnson, a mother of two, was shot in the head at a 30th birthday party in Peckham, south London, on 23 May last year.
The court heard that Johnson remains in hospital with “catastrophic permanent damage”, in a serious but stable condition.
Prince Dixon, 25, Troy Reid, 20, Cameron Deriggs, 19, and Devonte Brown, 19, had denied conspiracy to murder, possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.
They were due to stand trial on 7 March but at an Old Bailey hearing on Tuesday the prosecution announced the Crown would not be pursuing the case.
Johnson, 28, is a founding member of the Taking the Initiative party and came to prominence in 2020 as protests for racial justice sprung up across Britain.
She was struck by a single bullet just before 3am at a silent disco in the garden of a house in Peckham.
The defendants, who appeared by video link from Belmarsh high-security prison reacted with smiles and hugged each other as the prosecutor, Mark Heywood QC, announced their case was being dropped after a review.
Heywood said four men in balaclavas, who the prosecution had believed to be the defendants, had approached the house and discharged a weapon at guests, striking Johnson, who was in a relationship with the oldest son of the family who lived there. He stressed there was nothing to suggest she was targeted because of her anti-racism campaigning and involvement in the BLM movement.
Heywood said the wider background had been a “falling out” and “hostility” between Deriggs and Brown and the two youngest occupants of the house, who were aged 18. But he said the case against the defendants for an alleged conspiracy was based on “circumstantial evidence” and there was no direct evidence identifying any of them. The core evidence came from contact…